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China warns North Korea via 'diplomatic channels' against fourth nuclear test

Published on May 19, 2014 4:20 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has used various diplomatic channels to warn North Korea not to conduct a fourth nuclear test, multiple China-based diplomatic sources told Reuters, after the reclusive state renewed its threat of "counter-measures" against perceived US hostility.

North Korea, which regularly threatens the South and the United States with destruction, is already under heavy sanctions imposed by several UN resolutions beginning in 2006 but has defied pressure to abandon its missile and nuclear programmes. It last conducted a nuclear test in February 2013.

"China has told North Korea that there is no justification for a new nuclear test and that they should not do it," said a Western diplomat who was briefed by Chinese officials.

The sources said China had used diplomatic channels in Beijing and Pyongyang to convey its anxiety about the possibility of a fourth test to the North. China is North Korea's most important diplomatic and economic ally, though three nuclear tests and several rounds of sabre rattling have tested Beijing's support.

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