BEIJING (Reuters) - China expressed concern about South Korea’s planned joint military exercise with the United States and said it was maintaining contact with Washington over tensions on the Korean peninsula, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
“We have noted the relevant reports and express our concern about this,” a spokesman for the ministry, Hong Lei, told a regular news conference.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday a joint military exercise with the United States due later this month will send a clear message to North Korea.
The resumption of stalled six-party talks to persuade Pyongyang to abandon nuclear disarmament was “urgently” needed, Hong said, adding that all parties in the dispute in the Korean peninsula should “do more to ease” the situation.
China has been urged by the United States and its regional allies, South Korea and Japan, to help rein in Pyongyang after North Korea shelled a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing four people and triggering a confrontation.
Beijing was angered earlier this year by joint U.S.-South Korea naval exercises off the South Korean coast that those two nations said were meant to warn North Korea. Beijing said such exercises could threaten its security and regional stability.
Reporting by Chris Buckley; Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ken Wills