China on Saturday renewed a call for dialogue to resolve the issue of an aggressive North Korea threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USA even as Pyongyang formally rejected a UN security resolution that demanded an end to its nuclear programme.
"We call on all relevant parties to bear in mind the larger interests, stay calm, exercise restraint and refrain from making any moves that may further worsen the situation," Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi told a press conference at the Great Hall of the People on Saturday.
"The only right way to resolve the issue is to take a holistic approach and resolve the concerns of all parties involved in a comprehensive and balanced manner through dialogue and consultations," he said.
China is North Korea's closest ally but has voiced its support for the UN resolution calling it "balanced". "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted its third nuclear test and tensions on the peninsula once again heightened. This is not something we want to see," said the foreign minister in what is probably his last press conference in that post.
However Yang maintained that these were not the way out of the present impasse. "We always believe that sanctions are not the end of Security Council actions, nor are sanctions the fundamental way to resolve the relevant issues," he said.
Yang touched upon a host of issues during his 90-minute interaction with reporters including the importance of BRICS, the current volatile relationship with neighbours, China-US relations and allegations of China's involvement in cyber attacks across the world.
Yang said China's new President - Communist Party chief Xi Jinping is slated to take over as president during the ongoing session of the National People's Congress - will attend the fifth summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries' leaders in South Africa.
At the meeting in Durban, Xi is expected to hold his first bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit.
Yang said the meeting will give impetus to strengthening partnership among the five countries, and improving the BRICS mechanism to boost cooperation among the five-member bloc. Xi's meeting in Durban with Singh is expected to provide the first direct platform for talks between the China's new leaders with Indian leadership.
"The BRICS mechanism has become an important force in countering the international financial crisis, driving world economic growth, improving the governance of the global economy, and promoting democracy in international relations."
On territorial disputes between China and its neighbours including Japan, Yang said China sticks to a firm stand of defending its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, while sincerely wishing to properly handle and resolve the disputes through negotiation in a bid to maintain regional peace and stability.
China will continue to follow the policy of building good neighbouring relations and partnership and foster amicable ties and mutual benefits with neighbours, he maintained.
Yang said many Asian countries are very aware that cooperation with China would bring mutual benefits and interests. "It is our common wish to further cooperation and jointly work for a stable and prosperous regional environment," he said.
Yang said China welcomes a constructive role of the United States in Asia Pacific, and that the US should also respect China's interests and concerns in the region.
He reiterated at the press conference that the US side, in particular, needs to properly handle Taiwan and other sensitive issues.
Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao and the US President Barak Obama had met 12 times, he said, adding that Xi also exchanged letters with Obama after the US president was re-elected.
"Leaders of the two countries reached an agreement that China and the United States should work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respects and mutual benefits and explore the establishment of a new type of relationship between major countries," Yang said.