"Everybody will end up as a loser" if a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said. All sides need to show restraint, he added, or risk the situation getting out of hand.
With the US Navy deployed near the Korean Peninsula, and experts speculating that Pyongyang was preparing another nuclear test, Beijing said that the tensions were getting close to the breaking point.
"One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting his French colleague Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday.
However, history has shown that the use of force is not a solution, Wang added.
"On the Korean Peninsula issue, it is not those who use harsher words or raise bigger fists who would win" he said. "Once the war breaks out, everybody will end up as a loser, and there will be no winners."
"Therefore, we urge all parties to refrain from provocations and threats […] so as to avoid getting the situation there out of hand, and into an irreversible dead end," he told reporters in Beijing.
Pyongyang warns US it can respond in kind
Many analysts believe that Pyongyang is about to test another nuclear device, defying international pressure from both China and the West. The isolated country organized a military parade in honor of 105th birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday. Satellite images showed activity at the North's main nuclear test site ahead of the parade, analysts say.
During the event, the North displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the first time.
Speaking at the Pyongyang ceremony, the country's No.2 official said that North Korea was ready to strike back in the event of a US attack.
"We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war, and we are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks," Choe Ryong Hae said in a televised speech.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attended the Saturday event that saw thousands of soldiers marching through the nation's capital.
US to 'come to its senses'
Previously, the North Korean military threatened to unleash a "merciless" response against American targets, including the naval task force the US recently deployed.
"The closer such big targets as nuclear powered aircraft carriers come, the greater would be the effect of merciless strikes," said the statement carried by the KCNA news agency.
At the same time, the army urged Washington to "come to its senses" and find a "proper" solution to the current stand-off.
'The problem will be taken care of'
US President Donald Trump has vowed that Pyongyang would not be allowed to create a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to American territory. According to a White House foreign policy advisor, the US was assessing military options to that effect.
"North Korea is a problem," Trump said on Thursday. "The problem will be taken care of."
In a separate appearance on the Fox Business Network, Trump said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "doing the wrong thing."
"He is making a big mistake," the US President said.
Adding to speculations about using military force against North Korea, the US deployed its largest conventional bomb in Afghanistan yesterday, in a move interpreted as a warning to Pyongyang.
China urges dialogue
China is facing increasing pressure from the US to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Despite Beijing's key role in propping up North Korea, the Kim Jong Un regime has repeatedly ignored warnings and sanctions from its powerful ally.
Talking to reporters on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country is ready to support de-escalation talks.
"As long as dialogue takes place, it can be official or unofficial, through one channel or dual channels, bilateral or multilateral. China is willing to give support to all of them," he said.
dj/bw (AFP, Reuters)