China calls for end to provocations on NK issue

2017-05-04 02:27:29 GMT2017-05-04 10:27:29(Beijing Time) Agencies

China on Wednesday called on all parties in the Korean standoff to stay calm and "stop taking provocative actions " a day after North Korea said the US was pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war.

According to reports, US strategic bombers took off from Guam on Monday and conducted a drill with ROK fighter jets.

North Korea said the drill concerned its major targets and called it a "reckless provocation" that could push the peninsula to the brink of war.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, asked about the bomber flights, the drills and North Korea's response, stressed that the situation was "highly complex" and sensitive.

"The urgent task is to lower temperatures and resume talks," he told reporters.

"We again urge all relevant parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, stop taking provocative actions, work hard to create an atmosphere for contact and dialogue between all sides, and seek a return to the correct path of dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible."

Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks, driven by concern that the North might conduct its sixth nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Trump warned in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible, while China said last week the situation on the Korean peninsula could escalate or slip out of control.

Trump has stepped up outreach to allies in Asia to secure their cooperation to pressure North Korea, and over the weekend he spoke with the leaders of Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in separate phone calls.

The US ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph R. Donovan, told reporters Indonesia was among several countries that the United States was urging take a "fresh look" at their North Korea ties.

He declined to go into details of what action the United States wanted, but said: "We are hoping that countries will look at what they can be doing to bring North Korea around to meaningful steps to end its nuclear and missile programs."

He warned against focusing on short-term goals at the expense of long-term US interests.

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