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China wary of tense Korean situation

March 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM

BEIJING, March 29 (UPI) -- The Chinese government wants a coordinated effort to diffuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

China called for calm as tensions between the United States and North Korea intensify. The BBC quotes Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying "joint efforts" are needed to address the "tense situation in the region."

The U.S. military dispatched two B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea this week as what was described as a routine training mission. North Korea responded by saying "the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists," China's official Xinhua news agency reports.

The BBC notes that North Korea's Taepodong missile could reach Alaska and Hawaii, though the U.S. military has bases in Guam and elsewhere in the Pacific.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said late Thursday the military was committed to peace in the region despite North Korean aggression.

"We -- the United States, South Koreans, all of the nations in that region of the world, are committed to a pathway to peace," he said in a statement. "And the North Koreans seem to be headed in a different direction here."

North Korea in February conducted its third underground nuclear test, which it said was part of a campaign against the United States.

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