BEIJING, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- China expressed concerns regarding North Korea's repeated threats to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to Xinhua news agency.
Beijing is taking the statements seriously, including the most recent announcement issued Sunday that reiterated an earlier statement Kim Jong Un made during his New Year's speech.
On New Year's Day Kim said the country had reached the last stage of preparing a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that may be capable of targeting the U.S. mainland.
Pyongyang said the launch would take place at an arbitrary time and place determined by Kim. The statement has raised the threat level in South Korea, where the military is monitoring the situation.
Lu Kang, China's foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters Monday that Beijing fears a situation that only escalates tensions in the region.
"The United Nations Security Council has clear rules for North Korea regarding its use of ICBM technology to test missiles," Lu said. "In this complex and sensitive situation, China asks all relevant parties to not engage in acts that will raise tensions."
The spokesman also said China is closely watching for new developments, and that the country is ready to play its "given role" for the sake of peace and stability in the region.
Lu's statements on Monday was in part a response to remarks U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
Carter had said North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a "serious threat" that it would shoot down any missile if aimed at "us" as well as "friends or allies."
The latter statement has raised Beijing's concerns, according to Yonhap.