BEIJING, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- China Thursday condemned planned U.S.-Japanese military exercises and questioned why Beijing's calls for talks to ease Korean Peninsula tensions were rejected.
"Military alliances and displays of force cannot solve the issue," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a news briefing.
At the same time, China "received criticisms for proposing the consultations. Is it fair?" the official Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.
The weeklong exercises by some 44,000 Japanese and U.S. troops, set to begin Friday, follow smaller U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in the Yellow Sea that began Sunday and ended Wednesday.
China, North Korea's only major ally, has twice called for an emergency session of the so-called six-party talks that include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. Its call has so far been rejected by Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
Talks among the six countries aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear program have been stalled since April 2009.
The new exercises are to involve the aircraft carrier USS George Washington joining some 400 aircraft and 60 warships in the Sea of Japan and near Okinawa island, the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces said. Drills will include responding to ballistic missile attacks on Pacific islands.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to host Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and South Korean counterpart Kim Sung Hwan Monday to discuss regional security.
Tensions rose after a North Korean artillery attack Nov. 23 killed two marines and two civilians on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, close to the countries' disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea.
The barrages from the North, which claimed it was provoked by artillery fire by the South, was the first attack on a civilian area since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.