"China is looking into a wide range of measures to stop North Korea from conducting a nuclear test. Those measures include sending a delegation to North Korea," the source told the South Korean newspaper.
Isolated North Korea, whose only main ally is China, has issued a number of threats including a "high level" nuclear test since last week after the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution for expanded sanctions against the Communist country for its long-range rocket test last month in violation of earlier U.N. sanctions. The earlier sanctions were put in place after the North's missile and two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The source told the Chosun Ilbo China, one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, is also considering its own response if the North proceeds with its third nuclear test.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday his government opposes any actions that "could heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula or adversely affect denuclearization."
China's Global Times was quoted as saying in a recent editorial that Beijing would not hesitate to reduce assistance to North Korea if the latter engages in further nuclear tests. The impoverished North is dependent on such aid.
However, current China's North Korea policy is based on the principles of denuclearization and preventing war and chaos there, the report said. It is not clear what the new leadership in China would do when it takes charge.
Over the weekend, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged "substantial and high-profile state measures," seen as another reaction to the U.N. resolution.