China calls for calm amid Korean tensions

March 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM
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BEIJING, March 11 (UPI) -- The international community has a fundamental interest to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The United States and South Korea started military drills Monday. In response to heightened tensions and the fallout from a U.N. Security Council resolution, North Korea said was abandoning the armistice that halted the Korean War in the 1950s.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said Monday that Beijing was calling for regional restraint.

"Now the situation of the peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive," she was quoted by state-run news agency Xinhua as saying. "China maintains that it shall be in the fundamental interests of the international community to safeguard peace and stability of the peninsula and northeast Asia."

Pyongyang warned it would issue a harsh response should the military drills proceed as planned.

China, one of North Korea's few allies, joined the United States in pressing a resolution through the Security Council. The measure was a response to North Korea conducting an underground nuclear test.

Pyongyang last week said it reserved the right to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the United States. Josh Earnest, deputy White House spokesman said the threats from North Korea "are not helpful."

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