Related:North Korea official says nuclear test only option
Full Coverage on North Korean Nuclear Crisis
China urged North Korea on Wednesday to act with calm and restraint, the day after the country announced that it planned to carry out a nuclear test.
"We hope that North Korea will exercise necessary calm and restraint over the nuclear test issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Chinese spokesman also urged other countries not to deepen tensions.
"We also hope that all parties will make the necessary efforts to peacefully resolve their mutual concerns through dialogue and consultation, and not take actions that escalate tensions," Liu said.
China's statement came after North Korea said on Tuesday it would conduct its first-ever nuclear test, blaming a US "threat of nuclear war and sanctions" for forcing its hand.
Pyongyang's announcement caused alarm in many capitals.
The United States, France and Japan pressed for a UN response while South Korea expressed grave concern at this latest behaviour from its neighbour.
Wang Guangya, China's Ambassador to the United Nations has appealed for restraint in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons, calling six-nation talks the "best channel" to resolve tensions. [AFP/File]
Meanwhile, China's UN ambassador Wang Guangya also appealed for restraint in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons, calling six-nation talks the "best channel" to resolve tensions.
"This is a sensitive issue, so I urge all sides to exercise restraint," Wang said. "The best channel is still the six-party talks."
UN chief Kofi Annan joined the Security Council Tuesday in voicing "deep concern" over North Korea's plan to test a nuclear weapon, with the United States urging a coherent response.
Japan's UN ambassador Kenzo Oshima, the council president for October, said the 15-member body would meet early Wednesday to come up with a "firm, appropriate response" to what he called a "very serious matter".
North Korea gave no date for the planned test, but the shock announcement raised grave concerns around the world three months after North Korea's missile launches.
Through his spokesman, Annan said he shared "the global concern" over the North Korean nuclear weapon test, which if carried out, "would bring universal condemnation and will not help DPRK (Pyongyang) achieve the goals expressed in its statement, particularly with regard to strengthening its security."
Diplomatic efforts have intensified to bring North Korea, which last year declared itself a nuclear-armed nation, back to the disarmament talks.
But, Pyongyang says it will not return to the six-party talks unless Washington ends financial sanctions imposed in September last year.
The country has refused to resume the six-party talks -- involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States -- since last November to protest those sanctions.
Rice: A Very Provocative Act
In Cairo, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday a North Korean nuclear test would be "a very provocative act," and she prodded Asian nations to rethink their relationships with the North Koreans.
The top US diplomat said the United States would have to assess its options should such a test be carried out, but she did not elaborate.
"It would be a very provocative act by the North Koreans," Rice said during a press conference in Cairo, second stop on a Middle East tour. "They have not yet done it, but it would be a very provocative act."
Rice's warning reflected widespread concern within the Bush administration. She stressed, however, that a North Korean test was an issue "for the entire neighborhood" and not just for the United States.
"A North Korean nuclear test ... would create a qualitatively different situation on the Korean peninsula," Rice said. "I think that you would see that a number of states in the region would need to reassess where they are now with North Korea."
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino complained about North Korea's "provocative announcement" and said other countries should join in pressing Pyongyang to avoid testing.
A test "would be directly contrary to the interests of all of North Korea's neighbors and to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region," Perino said in a written statement.