There has been widespread international criticism following North Korea's third nuclear test which took place on Monday night Swedish time. China has come out with uncharacteristically strong language condemning the test and calling for a nuclear free Korean peninsula. Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt said it was "truly provocative" and cancelled a meeting today with North Koreas new ambassador to Sweden. The nuclear test did not come as a surprise. It was the first test in four years and a show of strength from the new leader Kim Jong Un. Sweden is one of only a handful of western countries which have an embassy in North Korea. In the past, Swedish diplomats in Pyongyang have acted as a go-between between the United States and North Korea - most notably in the high profile release of two imprisoned American journalists in 2009. So what does this latest upturn in tensions in the Far East mean for Sweden and what role - if any - can Sweden play in bringing North Ko
Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has strongly criticized North Korea's third nuclear test. Writing on his twitter account, Bildt says: "We must clearly condemn leadership in North Korea for its truly provocative third nuclear test. I expect also China to react strongly."
Sweden is one of only a handfull of western countries which have an embassy in North Korea. In the past, Sweden's representatives in Pyongyang have also acted as a go-between between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea's new ambassador to Stockholm was supposed to make a courtesy visit Tuesday to the Foreign Ministry in Sweden to meet Bildt. That meeting has been cancelled. Instead, Bildt says the Foreign Ministry will file a formal protest with the North Korean embassy in Stockholm.
"The UN Security Council is going to meet this afternoon and they will probably discuss further sanctions," Bildt tells Swedish Radio news.
But Bildt says further sanctions may have little effect because the country is already so isolated. He adds that China has an important role to play.
"The North Korean economy is, if it is at all dependent on the outside world, very dependent on China. So it's China who has the possibility to have an impact here."
North Korea's third nuclear test was expected. The last test took place four years ago. North Korean leaders had earlier said they would perform another nuclear test partly in reaction to new UN sanctions put in place after the country tested a long distance missile in December.
Sound clip above: Interview with Social Democrat MP Kent Härstedt, a frequent Swedish envoy to North Korea.