BEIJING -- China said Tuesday that it firmly opposed North Korea's testing of an atomic device and called for stability and a halt to nuclear proliferation in northeast Asia.
"The Chinese government calls on all parties to respond calmly, solve the problem of denuclearization of the peninsula through dialogue and consultation in the framework of the six-party talks," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
China joined the U.S., Russia and Britain as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council condemning the North Korean test, which was conducted Tuesday morning about 80 miles from the Chinese border.
Beijing's position is especially important because China is seen as North Korea's sole ally and chief economic benefactor. The international community looks to Beijing to influence its feisty neighbor to the east.