China said on Monday it had lodged an official protest with its ally North Korea following Pyongyang’s largest-ever nuclear weapons test.
The massive explosion, which Pyongyang claimed was a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, has put the region on edge and raised questions about how Beijing will respond to its neighbour’s latest provocation.
China “launched stern representations with the person in charge of the DPRK embassy in China”, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing, using an acronym for the North’s official name.
“China opposes the DPRK in carrying out nuclear missile development and we are committed to denuclearisation of the peninsula. This position is well-known and the DPRK also knows this position perfectly well,” he said.
“The DPRK must be very clear about that, so we hope all parties — especially the DPRK side — could exercise restraint and refrain from further escalating the tensions.”
Geng did not say whether Beijing, which has long been hesitant to put excessive economic pressure on Pyongyang, would support further sanctions on the regime.
North Korea’s announcement of Sunday’s test brought strong condemnation from the international community.
The blast was five times larger than the last test a year ago, according to South Korea, and could be felt in Chinese cities hundreds of kilometres from the North’s border.
Beijing is Pyongyang’s only significant ally and crucial trade partner. It is considered a critical player in efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its weapons programmes.
It has expressed strong condemnation of Sunday’s test, carried out hours before Chinese president Xi Jinping was set to deliver a major speech at a gathering of BRICS nations in southern China.
The US has pushed China to take a tougher stance on North Korea.
On Sunday US President Donald Trump tweeted that he was “considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea”.
Geng bristled at the suggestion.
“What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue, and on the other hand our interests are sanctioned and jeopardised,” he said.
“This should not be the case and this is not fair.”
HBO’s Maher taunts Trump fans over president hiding in a bunker from protesters: ‘Is America great enough for you yet?’
In his opening monologue on Friday night, HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher both ridiculed Donald Trump and taunted his fans over reports the president was whisked away to an underground bunker to protect him from anti-police brutality protesters.
According to the HBO comedian, "As soon as some shit started outside the White House he went straight to the bunker, five floors below ground. He says he wasn't hiding, he said, I love this, it was more of an inspection -- and he didn't piss himself, he was watering his shoes."
"I tell you, deranged authoritarians and bunkers, always a winning combination," he added.
Bill Barr and Trump desperately want to blame Antifa for violence — but they’re coming up dry so far
President Donald Trump has turned his wrath on Antifa during the George Floyd protests, demanding Antifa be labeled a terrorist organization and accusing the movement of committing acts of violence at demonstrations. But journalists William Bredderman and Spencer Ackerman, in the Daily Beast, threw cold this week on efforts to blame the leftist group.
They found that “none of the 22 criminal complaints representing the first wave of protest charges mention Antifa in any way.”
Fox News poll spells doom for GOP in Arizona
The GOP's chances in Arizona have not looked this bad in years.
This article first appeared in Salon.
A new Fox News poll of registered voters in the Grand Canyon State shows Democrat Mark Kelly miles ahead of Republican Sen. Martha McSally — 50% to 37% — with 8% undecided.
Further, McSally's problems appear to come from within her own party. While Kelly enjoys the support of nearly 90% of Democrats, only 73% of Arizona Republicans back McSally.