North Korean state media confirmed a third nuclear test was carried out Tuesday by Pyongyang. The test was expected as satellite imagery taken of a North Korean nuclear facility indicated signs of activity in late January.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it condemned the test in the strongest terms.
"The Chinese government is firmly opposed to this act," a statement published by the official Xinhua news agency read. "China always supports the denuclearization of the (Korean) Peninsula in an aim to safeguard ... peace and stability."
Beijing is seen as one of the few members of the international community with significant influence with Pyongyang.
The U.N. Security Council met Tuesday for an emergency meeting to discuss the nuclear test.
North Korea in December orbited a satellite using a rocket with a range long enough to reach the United States. The device tested Tuesday created a seismic event that suggested it was stronger than nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
NATO described the incident as an "irresponsible act" that posed a threat to the international community.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the test by North Korea of a nuclear weapon, conducted in flagrant violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions," a statement read.