China on Saturday urged the traditional participants of the Korean six-party talks to hold urgent consultations to help abate tensions between North and South Koreas and avoid yet another armed conflict.
The six-party talks are aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program through a negotiating process involving China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan, and Russia.
"The current situation in the peninsula is proving out that there is necessity for holding an urgent meeting of the heads of the "six". I call on all of the parties to return to dialogue and consultations," an official statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun issued on Saturday said.
Zhang urged the both Koreas to restrain from violence and stay cool.
South Korea had planned to hold the one-day drills between Saturday and Tuesday. North Korea has warned that it will make another strike on the island, "deadlier" than the November 23 attack that killed four, in the South proceeds with the drills.
On November 23, North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong, a front-line island at the maritime border between the countries, in response to South Korea's drills in the Yellow Sea. Pyongyang does not recognize the so-called Northern Limit Line drawn up by the United States at the end of the 1950s Korean War and claims that shells fired during the South's drills violated its territory.
Following South Korea's announcement of the drills, the United States expressed their support of Seoul, while Russia and China called on the South Korean authorities to show restraint and refrain from the drill that would further escalate tensions on the peninsula.
South Korean officials have warned the North it will retaliate harshly if Pyongyang attacks the South's territory again.
BEIJING, December 18 (RIA Novosti)