China has warned that conflict could break out "at any moment" over North Korea amid fears that it is preparing to launch a sixth nuclear test or more missiles in defiance of UN sanctions and stark warnings from the US.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday said it was necessary to prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from going down "an irreversible route", Efe news reported.
"Anyone who provokes war on the Korean Peninsula will assume responsibility and pay the price," said the minister.
The US has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula and is conducting its biggest-ever joint military exercise with South Korea.
Wang Yi said during a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, that if war occurs, "the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner."
Amid increasing tensions with the threat of a possible nuclear test by North Korea on the peninsula, the Chinese minister urged all parties not to let things evolve into an "uncontrollable" situation.
The warnings came ahead of the birth anniversary celebrations of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, which are scheduled to be held in Pyongyang this weekend.
It is expected that the country may carry out a new nuclear test as USS Carl Vinson, a US aircraft carrier with a navy strike group on board, is sailing in waters near the Korean Peninsula.
Wang also noted that China is always firmly opposed to any action likely to increase the tension, adding that in this crisis the winner will not be the one who exhibits more strength.
The Chinese minister urged all parties to suspend their weapons trials and military manoeuvres as a preliminary step to resuming dialogue.
Wang added that that Beijing is ready to listen to any useful proposals.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, said the North Korean nuclear test "would be dangerous and irresponsible."
Wang and Ayrault revealed at the press conference held after their meeting that they had discussed bilateral issues and major international crises such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the civil war in Syria.
The French minister said they also addressed the growing threat of North Korea's military programme, adding that China and France are determined to achieve denuclearisation on the peninsula.