A Chinese ambassador to the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday urged all related parties to stay calm, exercise restraint and not make any moves that may escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
According to Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, China has noticed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) recent missile launch activities and that the U.S. and other countries have recently held joint military exercises in the region.
"The DPRK's recent launch activities are all before and after military exercises, and they do not exist in isolation," said Geng at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Korean Peninsula situation.
Geng said the U.S. and other countries have carried out nuclear submarine cooperation and claimed to have deployed strategic assets in the region.
"These actions are intensifying conflicts, creating tension, and raising the risk of confrontation," he said. "The settlement of the peninsula issue is inseparable from a sound political and security environment. It is hoped that the relevant countries will put regional peace and security first and create a favorable environment for peace and stability on the peninsula."
Rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula
The DPRK launched two ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters on Thursday as the U.S. redeployed one of its aircraft carriers near the Korean Peninsula in response to the DPRK's launch of a long-range ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.
Thursday's launch was the sixth in less than two weeks.
The U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have responded by firing land-to-land ballistic missiles and precision-guided bombs dropped from fighter jets.
On September 26, the U.S. and the ROK launched joint maritime drills near the Korean Peninsula, involving a U.S. aircraft carrier and over 20 warships from the two sides, marking the first time in about five years that a U.S. aircraft carrier visited the ROK for joint military exercises.
The U.S., the ROK and Japan also conducted anti-submarine drills near the Korean Peninsula on October 30.
The DPRK Foreign Ministry on Thursday released a statement, saying it "strongly condemns the U.S. and some of its vassal forces for unwarrantedly bringing to the UNSC the just counteraction taken by the Korean People's Army against ROK-U.S. joint drills escalating the military tensions on the Korean peninsula."
"The DPRK is watching the U.S. posing a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity by redeploying the carrier task force in the waters off the Korean Peninsula," the statement read.
According to ROK presidential office, ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed during a phone call on Thursday that a clear message should be sent to the DPRK that its provocation would face the consequences.
The leaders strongly condemned DRPK's recent missile tests as acts of serious provocation and said reckless provocation must be stopped, the statement said.
"At this critical moment when the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to be tense, all parties concerned should focus on the overall situation of peace and stability on the peninsula, remain calm, exercise restraint, be cautious in words and actions and avoid moves that may exacerbate tensions or lead to escalation of the situation on the peninsula," Geng said at the UNSC meeting.
He said the peninsula issue is intricate and fundamentally a contradiction between the U.S. and the DPRK. "However, the U.S. side did not respond according to the action-for-action principle."
"The denuclearization measures taken by the DPRK side have not been responded to, and its legitimate concerns have not been resolved, resulting in a deadlock in the DPRK-U.S. dialogue and worsening mutual trust between the DPRK and the U.S.," he said.
Pointing out that the U.S. has recently strengthened its military alliance in the Asia-Pacific region, Geng said the U.S. move heightened the risk of military confrontation and pursued double standards and political manipulation on the nuclear issue, which has "poisoned the regional security environment."
"Against this background, the situation on the peninsula will inevitably become tense," said the Chinese envoy.
Geng also said historical experience shows that dialogue and consultation are the only viable way to resolve the peninsula issue. "If dialogue advances smoothly, positive progress will be made. If dialogue is stalled or even backtracks, tensions will escalate."
He called on the U.S. to take concrete action, show its sincerity and address the DPRK's legitimate concerns to create conditions for the early resumption of dialogue.
On the UNSC's role
Geng said resolving the issue requires the UNSC to play a constructive role rather than just exerting pressure.
"Discussions and deliberations should contribute to a detente rather than fueling escalation. They should promote the resumption of dialogue instead of widening differences and forge unity instead of creating divisions," he said.
"As a close neighbor of the peninsula, China has been closely following developments on the peninsula and has always insisted on maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, achieving a denuclearized peninsula, and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultations," said Geng.
China once again calls on all parties concerned to handle and resolve the Korean Peninsula issue in keeping with the principle of indivisible security, take the dual-track approach guided by the principle of moving forward in phases with synchronized steps and jointly promote the process of political settlement of the peninsula issue, Geng said, adding that China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in that regard.