China urges calm as N.Korea rattles sabres

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"We hope all relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint and take steps to alleviate tensions and not provoke each other", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

North Korea says war is now inevitable between Washington and Pyongyang.

The unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman said: 'The large-scale nuclear war exercises conducted by the USA in succession are creating touch-and-go situation on the Korean peninsula and series of violent war remarks coming from the USA high-level politicians amid such circumstances have made an outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula an established fact.

Nauert said North Korea was "not showing any interest in sitting down and having any kind of serious conversations when they continue to fire off ballistic missiles".

The exercise has been slammed by North Korea, which said the drills prove that US President Donald Trump is "begging" for nuclear war.

The drills, which will end Friday, include simulated attacks on a "a mock North Korean missile launch site with mock North Korean radars", CNN reported, citing a South Korean official.

He said: "We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it".

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China's vice minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang was to meet Matt Pottinger, the head of Asian affairs at the White House's National Security Council, on Thursday to discuss North Korea and trade, a senior United States official said.

"The great success in the test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15 is a priceless victory won by the great and heroic people of the DPRK who have upheld the WPK's line on the simultaneous development of the two fronts with loyalty", North Korea said in a statement, "without the slightest vacillation, despite the vicious challenges by the USA imperialists and their followers and manifold difficulties".

Both sides insist they don't want war, while saying they will act to defend themselves.

Kim with North Korean troops.

The weekend saw both White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of SC say chances of war with Pyongyang were growing. The Pentagon said it has "no intent" to move out any dependants.

United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Pyongyang for a four-day visit Tuesday, the first time a high-ranking United Nations official visited the country since 2012.

"The tension between the South and the North is at its peak, and so it is a very cautious situation as if we are walking on thin ice", Moon said, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. Feltman held talks with deputy foreign minister Pak Myong Gun on Wednesday.

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