China, Russia call for restraint on Korean peninsula
The foreign ministers of China and Russia have called for restraint on the Korean peninsula and urged all parties concerned to avoid escalation, officials said Sunday.
The call came as the UN Security Council prepared to hold talks on the soaring tensions, with North Korea warning that planned live-fire exercises by South Korean troops near the border could lead to "disaster".
"China firmly opposes any actions to cause tension and worsen the situation, and demands both sides on the peninsula show calmness and restraint," China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in phone talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
South Korea and North Korea must "carry out dialogue and contact, and completely avoid any actions that would fuel the tension," China's foreign ministry quoted Yang as saying in the phone conversation on Saturday.
North Korea earlier Saturday warned the South not to go ahead with its live-fire artillery exercise on a border island bombarded by the communist state last month.
The North has threatened an even deadlier attack on the South if the one-day drill scheduled for between December 18 and 21 is staged on Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border.
Lavrov said Russia has expressed concern to the countries involved and urged calmness and restraint, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Russia was willing to work with China to reduce tensions on the peninsula, he said.
Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, earlier requested an emergency meeting to discuss the soaring tensions.
China earlier called for an emergency convening of the stalled six-party denuclearisation talks on North Korea that include the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.
© 2010 AFP