China has criticized North Korea for its latest nuclear test, urging Pyongyang to resolve issues in the region through dialog.
"Despite universal opposition from the international community, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted its fifth nuclear test," said Hua Chunying, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, on Friday at a press briefing.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry official said Beijing had "issued a statement and expressed Chinese government's stance of firm opposition."
North Korean media announced on Friday that the country had conducted a "nuclear explosion" test.
"Our nuclear scientists staged a nuclear explosion test on a newly developed nuclear warhead at the country's northern nuclear test site," North Korea's state TV said.
The three-minute broadcast said North Korea stood ready to “retaliate against the enemies.”
“We will take further measures to bolster the state’s nuclear force in quality and quantity for safeguarding the dignity and the right to existence ...[against] the US’s increasing threats of a nuclear war,” the state TV said.
"Realizing de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, preventing nuclear proliferation, and safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia have always been China's firm stance," the foreign ministry spokeswoman stated.
She reiterated Beijing’s commitment to resolving disputes on the Korean Peninsula through dialog, calling for its Pyongyang to refrain from unilateral action that could worsen the situation.
"We strongly urge the DPRK side … [to] halt any move that could aggravate the situation … and complicate the issue," the Chinese official said, adding, "China will continue to remain committed to solving the relevant issues of the Korean Peninsula through dialog and consultation."
North Korea’s Friday nuclear test has met with similar criticisms from international bodies and other countries.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described the test as "deeply troubling" and a disregard to the viewpoints and concerns of the international community.
It was a "clear violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions … It is a deeply troubling and regrettable act," said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
Britain also condemned North Korea's test and said it would consult with international partners on an appropriate reaction.
"The United Kingdom strongly condemns North Korea for conducting a further nuclear test, which is a flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional peace and stability," said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Other countries, including the United States and Germany, followed suit in criticizing North Korea.
Diplomatic sources say the UN Security Council is to hold a closed-door meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss the matter.
In January, North Korea said it had detonated a hydrogen bomb with success. It was Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test. The country vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
The UN and the West have imposed a series of sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile activities.
North Korea says it will not abandon its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led command in South Korea.