China hits back at US pressure to rein in North Korea
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China rejected US pressure to rein in its North Korean ally Thursday, warning against the further escalation of tensions in the region as the US and South Korea threatened more joint military exercises following the North's deadly bombardment last month.
"An improper settlement of the relevant issue may lead to further escalation of tensions, gravely jeopardising peace and stability in the region," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in response to a question about the exercises.
"We hope parties concerned... take a responsible attitude, act cautiously and do more to contribute to regional peace and stability".
Her comments came as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il met with China's most senior foreign policymaker Dai Bingguo in Pyongyang.
The two sides “reached consensus on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean peninsula” according to Chinese state media, which provided no further details.
The meeting marked the first time that Kim has met a senior foreign official since the North's shock attack.
Top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen in Tokyo on Thursday said "Northeast Asia is today more volatile than it has been in much of the last 50 years".
"Much of that volatility is owed to the reckless behaviour of the North Korean regime, enabled by their friends in China," he added.
Calling for a united defence front against North Korea, he also said he felt a "real sense of urgency" about building up three-way defence ties with South Korea and Japan.
Mullen has proposed three-way drills and said that any threat is "much better addressed with all of us together, in terms of showing strength and getting to a point where we can deter North Korean behaviour".
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