North Korea defied the international community and tested its first nuclear weapon Monday morning.
Although it had publicized its intentions last week, the news of the test came as a bombshell, in disregard of warnings from the United Nations Security Council.
A presidential statement from the Council urged North Korea not to undertake such a test and to refrain from any action that might aggravate tension.
North Korea's latest maneuver has invited condemnation and concern from the international community.
China reacted with emphatic disapproval to the North Korea's nuclear test, which will leave international non-proliferation efforts in tatters.
An act showing no restraint, the test has made more unpredictable the complexities of the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The latest development is definitely not favorable for North Korea. It will not help the country address the stated concerns, particularly with regard to strengthening its security.
Rather, North Korea should abide by the necessary approach of diplomatic channels several countries have worked on.
China began brokering a peaceful compromise in 2003, when the United States accused North Korea of covertly building atomic weapons and North Korea pulled out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Six-Party Talks are a diplomatic forum aimed at making a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
At the previous talks among the six countries China, North Korea, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States they reached their first-ever joint statement, in which North Korea agreed to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in exchange for energy aid and a security guarantee.
In conducting the nuclear weapon test Monday, North Korea went back on its word in the statement and disregarded the guiding principles on dealing with the nuclear issue. Its move will leave an early resumption of the talks difficult.
This, however, should not necessarily mean that the international community should discard the efforts to resume the talks.
It is of dire necessity to make the attempt, especially at this moment.
We suggest that North Korea stop more excessive actions that will push the situation on the Korean Peninsula to a more dangerous edge.
What the country can and should do is to return without preconditions to the Six-Party Talks that have been seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis stemming from its nuclear program.
The international community's call to North Korea should not fall on deaf ears. The parties concerned should work on the resolution of non-proliferation concerns and to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through political and diplomatic efforts.
Before a solution is worked out, cool-headedness and restraint are a prerequisite.
(China Daily October 10, 2006)