Amid high tensions on the Korean peninsula, China called for "emergency consultations" between members of the six-nation talks on North Korean nuclear disarmament to bring peace and stability to Northeast Asia.
"I want to stress that a series of complicated factors have emerged on the Korean peninsula which have made the international community and the members of six-party talks deeply concerned," Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei told reporters in Beijing.
He said the Chinese side believes it is necessary for the delegation of the six-party talks who had the important task of fully implementing the 2005 joint statement to bring about peace and stability in the Korean peninsula, to meet and exchange views to make due contribution in maintaining peace in the peninsula and easing tensions in Northeast Asia.
Wu, who was part of the Chinese delegation headed by State Councilor Dai Bingguo that visited Seoul yesterday, made the statement immediately after returning today. China, a key ally of North Korea, is part of the six-party talks framework, that includes the US, Japan, Russia and two Koreas, formed in 2005 to deal with the situation arising out of North Korean regime acquiring nuclear weapons.
Four South Koreans were killed in the sudden shelling by the North on Yeonpyeong on November 23, which sparked off fresh round of tensions, inviting world condemnation and retaliatory fire from the South.
South Korea has already rejected the proposal for resumption of the six-nation talks which suffered a set back after the recent sinking of a South Korean naval vessel allegedly by North Korea.
Wu said China's call was not for resumption of talks but "emergency consultations." The six-part talks mechanism play an important role in strengthening communication among the parties advancing denuclearisation in the peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability, he said.
"It is China's consistent position that the six-party talks should be resumed at early date. I would like to stress that although the proposed consultations do not mean the resumption of the talks, we do hope that they help create conditions for the re-launch of the talks," Wu said.
Wu said during his visit, he had held extensive consultations with the South Korean leaders including President Lee Myung-bak and discussed a way out to ease the crisis to maintain peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, a top North Korean official will visit Beijing this week to discuss the situation, official media reported.
Choe Thae-Bok, Chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly and a close confidant of leader Kim Jong-II, will arrive in China on Tuesday on an official visit till December 4, state-run Xinhua said.
In another development, North Korea issued yet another warning against the United States and South Korea, holding a four-day joint military drill in waters west of the divided Korean Peninsula.
As the US and South Korea started the war games, the North said it will deal "a merciless military counter-attack" at any provocative act of intruding into its territorial waters, the official Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary. It accused South Korea of intending to "shirk off their responsibility for the serious military provocation and justify their scheme for confrontation with the DPRK and moves to ignite a war against it."