China is "resolutely opposed" to the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) yesterday, the Foreign Ministry said in a
harshly worded statement. (Commentary: Return to nuclear talks )
A map of Japan and the
Korean Peninsula released by the Japan Meteorological Agency shows seismic
waves originating from a location in North Korea at 0135 GMT believed to
be caused by an underground nuclear test on October 9, 2006.
"On October 9, the DPRK flagrantly
conducted a nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the
international community. The Chinese Government is resolutely opposed to this
act," said the statement.
According to a report by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the
DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test yesterday morning. (North Korea hails historic nuclear test )
The news agency said the test was performed successfully "with indigenous
wisdom and technology 100 per cent," and that no radiation leaked from that test
"It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the (Korean
People's Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defence
capability," KCNA said.
An official at the Republic of Korea's (ROK) seismic monitoring centre
confirmed that a magnitude 3.6 tremor felt at the time of the alleged DPRK
nuclear test was not a natural occurrence.
The size of the tremor could indicate an explosive equivalent to 550 tons of
TNT, said Park Chang-soo, spokesman at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and
Mineral Resources which would be far smaller than the nuclear bombs the United
States dropped on Japan in World War II.
Gary Gibson of Australia's Seismology Research Centre put the size of the
blast at about 1 kiloton, the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT. Russia's RIA news
agency quoted Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying it ranged between
5 and 15 kilotons.
The atomic bomb that struck Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, had the destructive
power of about 15,000 tons of TNT.
File IKONOS satellite image of the
Yongbyon nuclear facility, located about 100 kms (62 miles) north of
Pyongyang, taken August 13, 2002. North Korea has carried out an
underground nuclear test, the North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA)
said on October 9, 2006. [Reuters]
The Foreign Ministry statement noted that "to bring about denuclearization of
the Korean Peninsula and oppose nuclear proliferation is the firm and consistent
stand of the Chinese Government."
China "strongly urges" the DPRK to honour its commitment to denuclearization,
stop all moves that may further worsen the situation and return to the Six-Party
Talks aimed at making the Korean Peninsula free from nuclear weapons, it said.
"To safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia serves the interests of
all parties involved," it said.
"The Chinese Government calls on all parties concerned to be cool-headed in
response and persist in seeking a peaceful solution through consultation and
dialogue. China will continue to make every effort towards this goal."
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talked on the telephone with US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and his British counterpart Margaret Beckett yesterday,
and they exchanged views regarding the test.
Li reiterated China's position on the issue as announced in the statement.