According to Channel News Asia, though Beijing expressed "regret" after North Korea launched a rocket last December, China is likely to side with neighboring North Korea against the West "for fear that instability could bring refugees flooding across the border."
However, this doesn't mean that China agrees with North Korea's nuclear tests. Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Northeast Asia director of the International Crisis Group think tank, said, "I think that China is very angry about this test," and added that she expected "stronger reactions" from the Communist Party's new leader Xi Jinping.
But if President Obama, who would be compelled to address the issue at tonight's State of the Union, is expecting Beijing to support any further American-led sanctions to Pyongyang he might be setting himself for up for disappointment. According to Kleine-Ahlbrandt, China's main concern is North Korea's stability thus "we won't necessarily know about any punitive measures implemented by China, and they will not necessarily deter North Korea because China is only willing to go so far."