BEIJING - China on Sunday proposed emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks next month as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula.
"The Chinese side, after careful deliberation, proposes emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks in early December in Beijing to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present," said Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for the Korean Peninsula affairs.
It is China's latest move with regard to tensions on the peninsula, following the exchange of artillery fire Tuesday between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The ROK and the United States on Sunday launched a four-day joint naval drill in waters west of the divided Korean Peninsula, the US aircraft carrier USS George Washington joined the drill.
A statement from the US Forces Korea (USFK) said it "demonstrates the strength" of the alliance between Seoul and Washington and their "commitment to regional stability through deterrence."
But the DPRK on Sunday blasted the ROK-US joint exercises, saying they were bringing war to the Korean Peninsula.
China has repeatedly called for calm and restraint, urging the resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks among China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Russia and Japan.
Wu told a press conference the consultations would aim to properly address the situation on the Korean Peninsula and were in accordance with the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks issued on September 19, 2005.
The statement reaffirmed the goal of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
"A series of complicated factors have recently emerged on the Korean Peninsula. The international community, particularly members of the Six-Party Talks, is deeply concerned," said Wu.
It was necessary for the heads of delegations "to exchange views on these major issues and make due contributions to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and easing tensions in northeast Asia," he said.
Wu said the proposed consultations did not mean the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, but he hoped they could "help create conditions" for the resumption of the talks.
The talks, launched in 2003, stalled when the DPRK quit in April 2009.
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday in Seoul.
Stressing the situation on the peninsula was worrisome, the two sides agreed the parties concerned should make joint efforts to engage in serious contact and dialogue to ease tensions and safeguard overall peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia.