BEIJING — China's foreign minister called Wednesday on all parties to avoid acts that risk further inflaming heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Calm and restraint are required and talks are now needed to cool down the situation, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Yang Jiechi as saying.
Nothing should be done to "inflame the situation," said Yang in the highest-level Chinese comment yet on the crisis sparked by Pyongyang's shelling of a South Korean island last week that killed four people.
"The parties concerned should keep calm and exercise restraint, and work to bring the situation back onto the track of dialogue and negotiation," Yang said. "China decides its position based on the merits of each case and does not seek to protect any side."
China is North Korea's most important ally and has been accused of failing to use its diplomatic and economic influence to rein Pyongyang in while providing diplomatic cover for the impoverished hard-line communist regime at the United Nations.