BEIJING: China, a close ally of North Korea, today expressed serious concern over Pyongyang's plans to step up its nuclear and missile programmes.
China is seriously concerned about the latest developments in the nuclear and missile programmes of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. Lu's comments came after North Korea's deputy ambassador to the UN and its vice Foreign Minister reportedly said that a new nuclear test was under preparation and more missile tests would be conducted on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
"China is committed to denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability there, and resolving problems through dialogue and consultation. China's stance on this is unswerving," Lu said in strongest comments against North Korea in the present crisis.
Lu stressed that given the complicated and sensitive situation on the Korean Peninsula, China firmly opposes any words and deeds that could heighten hostility and tension and called on all parties involved to make efforts to ease the tension.
Two days ago Lu welcomed the US to play a positive role in peacefully resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue as US Vice President Mike Pence put North Korea on notice pointing to American airstrikes in Syria and Afghanistan.
"We are willing to work with all parties concerned to achieve denuclearisation and safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," Lu said responding to Pence comments made in Seoul. "Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan," Pence had said, referring to missile strikes in Syria for deadly chemical attack and dropping of the mother of all bombs over IS hideout in Afghanistan.
"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region," Pence said.
On April 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment" and warned there would be "no winner" in any war. "There has been heightened tension between the US, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The precarious situation deserves our attention and concern," Wang said, without directly referring to threats of strong retaliation threatened by US President Donal Trump if North Korea resorts to nuclear test.
Lu Chao, director of the China's Border Studies Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the latest test, despite its failure, could be another defiant message from Pyongyang that it will not change its tough stance in the face of US pressure even though the failure showed that Pyongyang's missile technology was flawed.