North Korea abruptly called off talks set for Tuesday with the U.S.-led United Nations Command that oversees the Korean War truce.
North Korea's military representatives asked for a delay "for administrative reasons", the U.N. Command said in a statement. An official there said the North may have decided it was not ready for the talks. No new date has been set.
A joint team of investigators involving military officers and civilian experts from the South, the United States and Sweden in May accused the North of launching a torpedo attack on the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang repeated a call for all sides to resume talks and again expressed concern about planned military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
"Problems on the Korean peninsula can only be resolved through the peaceful methods of talks and negotiations," Qin told a regular news briefing in Beijing. "A war of words, or even using military means, cannot fundamentally resolve the issues."
The U.N. Security Council in a statement on Friday condemned the attack but did not directly blame the North. The North denies it was involved in the sinking and has accused the South of masterminding a fabrication for political gain.
North Korea first rejected a call by the U.N. Command to meet and discuss any violation of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It later changed its position and said it would accept such a meeting, after Seoul rejected its proposal to send a military team to inspect the sunken ship.
North Korea at the weekend said it was willing to return to nuclear talks with regional powers that it had boycotted for more than a year. Experts said the North was trying to put the Cheonan incident behind it by offering to talk.
South Korea and the United States reacted with scepticism, saying the North must show it was genuinely interested in easing tensions, first by apologising for the ship incident.
The foreign and defence ministers of the two allies will meet in Seoul next week to discuss strengthening security ties.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 13 Temmuz 2010, 12:28