China has warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached a “tipping point” after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, a move Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described as “unprecedented” and a “grave threat” to his country’s security, Al Jazeera report.
Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, urged all sides on Tuesday to avoid provocations, repeating Beijing’s call for Pyongyang to suspend missile tests, while proposing that the United States and South Korea China halt ongoing joint military exercises.
The situation is “now at a tipping point approaching a crisis. At the same time there is an opportunity to reopen peace talks”, Hua told reporters in Beijing.
“We hope relevant parties can consider how we can de-escalate the situation on the peninsula and realise peace and stability on the peninsula,” she added.
Hua said “time has proven that pressure and sanctions cannot solve the root of the problem”, and that the only way to solve the standoff is by addressing legitimate security concerns through dialogue.
In the early hours of Tuesday, North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over US ally Japan, and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.
Following the latest incident, US President Donald Trump issued a statement saying “all options are on the table”, as his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned “something serious has to happen” to stop North Korea from making more provocations.
But North Korea appeared to remain defiant, with its ambassador to the UN in Geneva saying that his country will not “flinch an inch” on the road to building a nuclear force as long as “US hostile policies and nuclear threats continue”.
Ambassador Han Tae Song told a session of the Conference on Disarmament that his country “has every reason to respond with tough countermeasures”.
While making no direct reference to Tuesday’s missile test, Han repeated Pyongyang’s criticism of the joint US and South Korean military exercises, calling it “a fanatic act of adding fuel to flame”.