Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday that Asia faced "new challenges" to its stability and warned no one could be allowed to throw the region into chaos as tensions mounted over North Korea.
Xi, delivering a speech at an annual international forum on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, did not mention the crisis on the Korean Peninsula or China's territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian nations.
But he said there should be no tolerance for those who foster "chaos for selfish gains".
Tensions have soared in recent weeks with North Korea threatening nuclear war after the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions over its latest atomic test and the US and South Korea launched war games.
"We need to make concerted efforts to resolve major difficulties to ensure stability in Asia," Xi said.
"Stability in Asia now faces new challenges as hot spot issues keep emerging and both traditional and non-traditional security threats exist," he added.
China has traditionally been North Korea's closest political ally since they fought together in the 1950-1953 Korean War and is Pyongyang's biggest trading partner.
Speaking more broadly, Xi called on the international community to push for a "vision of comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security".
Xi said that was necessary so the world could become a stage for the pursuit of "common development", as opposed to one "where gladiators fight each other".
"And no one should be allowed to throw a region, even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains," he added.
It was Xi's first attendance at the Boao Forum for Asia since becoming China's president last month. He took over as head of the ruling Communist Party in November and now holds the country's two most powerful positions.
The three-day gathering has brought together leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents every year since 2001 to discuss pressing issues in the region and the rest of the world.
Among political and financial leaders at this year's event are Myanmar President Thein Sein, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde and Yasuo Fukuda, a former Japanese prime minister.
Fukuda is chairman of the forum, touted as an Asian version of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which draws global leaders to its annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. The WEF also holds a separate annual forum in China.