China said it is regrettable that tensions on the Korean Peninsula have intensified after a period of stability, and called for parties to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remark on Monday as Seoul and Washington kicked off their largest-ever air force exercise after Pyongyang's latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Nov 29.
"Tensions resurfaced on the peninsula after two months of relative calm, and all related parties didn't catch the window of opportunity that China has appealed for them to take advantage of. China feels regret about it," Wang said at a joint news conference with his Mongolian counterpart in Beijing.
The foreign minister also said that while China takes an open-minded attitude toward solutions to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, all parties should jointly abide by the regulations and spirit of Security Council resolutions.
"The resolutions represent the common will of the international community, and they are the global duties that should be followed by all members," Wang said.
Proposals that do not conform to, or measures not in the resolutions, lack an international legal basis and harm the legitimate rights and interests of Security Council members, he added.
The Republic of Korea and the United States started the five-day Vigilant Ace air combat exercise in Seoul on Monday, involving over 230 warplanes and about 12,000 military personnel, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Pyongyang said on Sunday that the drill would push the already acute situation to the brink of nuclear war, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that China hoped all parties will do more to help ease tensions and avoid provoking each other.
China has put forward a dual-track approach and "suspension for suspension" initiative to address the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
The suspension-for-suspension proposal calls on Pyongyang to pause its missile and nuclear activities, and calling on Washington and Seoul to put joint military drills on hold.
Wang Junsheng, an expert on Korean Peninsula affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said no party will win by continually flexing its muscles.