China urged calm and restraint on Sunday after North Korea’s launch of a rocket, which prompted condemnation from global powers and triggered an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
“We hope related parties stay calm and exercise restraint, appropriately deal with it and together maintain peace and stability in this region,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement that referred to the rocket as an “experimental communications satellite”.
“The Chinese side is willing to continue to play a constructive role,” Jiang said in the brief statement carried on the ministry’s website (www.fmprc.gov.cn).
China, the closest North Korea has to a major ally and economic partner, kept above the diplomatic fray in the weeks leading to the launch of the rocket.
U.S. President Barack Obama said that North Korea, which tested a nuclear device in 2006, had violated U.N. resolutions and increased its own isolation, and he urged Pyongyang to refrain from further “provocative actions”.
China is worried about the stability of North Korea given the risk of refugees flooding across its border if the impoverished state were to collapse, and analysts say Beijing is unlikely to back strong action at the United Nations against Pyongyang.