BEIJING - China called Tuesday for the protection of citizens from all countries and warned against "chaos" on the Korean peninsula after North Korea urged foreigners in South Korea to evacuate.
Beijing, a key backer of its defiant neighbor, has repeatedly urged calm and restraint despite spiraling tensions since Pyongyang tested a third nuclear bomb in February and reacted angrily to resulting UN sanctions.
The isolated regime said Tuesday the peninsula was headed for "thermo-nuclear" war and advised foreigners in South Korea to consider evacuation.
It has also shut a key North-South joint industrial complex, while the US has vowed to defend its allies and held joint war games with Seoul.
"The Korean peninsula is a close neighbor of China. China does not want to see the chaos of war at its doorstep," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a regular press briefing.
"We call on relevant parties to bear in mind the larger interests of regional peace and stability and concretely ensure the legitimate rights, benefits and safety of citizens from other countries," he added.
"We do not want to see chaos or war on the Korean peninsula. We want peace, not war; dialogue, not confrontation; easing, not tension."
North Korea last week warned foreign embassies in its capital Pyongyang to consider evacuating by April 10, saying it could not guarantee the safety of their personnel in case of conflict.
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