China urges 'relevant parties' to avoid tension on Korean peninsula

Travellers walk past a television screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech, at a railroad station in Seoul on Jan 1, 2015. China on Jan 5 called on "relevant parties" to avoid action that would escalate tension on the Kor
Travellers walk past a television screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech, at a railroad station in Seoul on Jan 1, 2015. China on Jan 5 called on "relevant parties" to avoid action that would escalate tension on the Korean peninsula after the United States imposed more sanctions on North Korea last week. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China on Monday called on "relevant parties" to avoid action that would escalate tension on the Korean peninsula after the United States imposed more sanctions on North Korea last week.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a daily news briefing. The sanctions came in the wake of a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the White House has said was supported by the reclusive country. "The relative stability on the Korean peninsula has not come easy," Hua said. "We hope that the relevant parties act with caution and avoid taking measures that could worsen or escalate the current situation." The US government named three entities, including North Korea's military intelligence agency, and sanctioned 10 people with links to weapons sales and proliferation last week.

Financial sanctions have been effective in bringing pressure on Iran and Russia, but they have had limited impact on North Korea, which has been sanctioned by the United States for more than 50 years.

North Korea has denied involvement in the cyberattack. The United States said there was no evidence that any of the three entities or the individuals were linked to it.