China Said Unable to Protect Pyongyang After Nuclear Test

Posted April 26th, 2012 at 1:30 am (UTC-5)
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China's state-controlled media say Beijing will not be able to shield North Korea from the diplomatic consequences if it conducts a third nuclear test.

The warning appears Thursday in a commentary in Global Times, which is affiliated with China's ruling Communist Party. The article notes growing speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct an underground nuclear test, which would be its third since 2006.

Beijing strongly opposes any such test, the article says and if North Korea goes ahead, China “will not be able to help it avoid various diplomatic results.” The U.N. Security Council has already warned it will “respond accordingly” to any further provocations by Pyongyang.

South Korea this month made available to VOA and other news organizations satellite surveillance photos showing fresh activity at the site of North Korea's two previous nuclear tests.

Suspicions that a test is imminent only grew after an attempted North Korean rocket launch ended in failure on April 13. The two previous nuclear tests followed failed missile tests and were seen as attempts to make up for the failures.

The Global Times article placed Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions in the context of recent missile tests by India and Pakistan. It said Asian countries are obsessed with improving their strategic striking capabilities and argued that the world should try to prevent them from doing so.

The article said weaker countries try to develop strategic weapons out of a fear of their stronger neighbors. It argued that the United States and its Asian allies should adopt a softer line so as not to provoke countries like North Korea.