Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi says the region faced a precarious situation in which conflict could break out at any moment
China has urged the US and North Korea to step back from the brink of a potentially catastrophic conflict after Pyongyang warned it would not “keep its arms crossed” in the event of a pre-emptive strike.
Speaking in Beijing on Friday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, told reporters the region faced a “precarious situation” in which “one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment”.
He made his plea before an anticipated sixth North Korean nuclear test on Saturday to mark the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not to let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Wang said, according to Xinhua, China’s official news agency.
“If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner. It is not the one who espouses harsher rhetoric or raises a bigger fist that will win.”
North Korea’s vice-foreign minister, Han Song-ryol, earlier warned it would not “keep its arms crossed” in the event of a pre-emptive US strike and would conduct a nuclear test when it saw fit.