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(LEAD) China urges restraint as N. Korea fires short-range missiles

All News 17:40 March 10, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS quote, details in para 3,5, last para)

BEIJING, March 10 (Yonhap) -- China called for restraint on Thursday as North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the East Sea in an apparent show of anger against ongoing South Korea-U.S. military drills and new U.N. sanctions.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei described the current situation on the Korean Peninsula as "highly sensitive."

"All relevant parties should stop these provocative words and actions so as to avoid further escalating tensions. This serves the interests of all parties," said Hong in response to North Korea's latest missile launch and liquidation of all South Korean assets in the North's territory.

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the two missiles were fired around 5:20 a.m. Thursday morning (Seoul time) from North Hwanghae Province and hit waters northeast of the port city of Wonsan. The missiles flew some 500 kilometers.

In a move to further raise tension, North Korea also announced on Thursday that it will "liquidate" South Korean assets in the two suspended inter-Korean projects, the Kaesong industrial complex and the Mt. Kumgang tourism resort.

North Korea was slapped with new U.N. sanctions following its fourth nuclear test and launch of a long-range rocket this year.

South Korea and the U.S. have been conducting annual joint military drills, which have been branded by North Korea as a rehearsal for invasion.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi left for Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with the North Korean issue expected to top the agenda of their talks, Hong said.


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