China warns of 'irreversible route' on North Korea dealings

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday is was necessary to prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from going down an "irreversible route."

Concerns have been growing that North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions and stark warnings from the United States that its policy of strategic patience was over.

China, North Korea's sole major ally and benefactor, which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the denuclearistaion of the peninsula.

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Military force cannot resolve tension over North Korea, China said on Thursday, while an influential Chinese newspaper urged the North to halt its nuclear program in exchange for Chinese protection.

"Amid challenge there is opportunity. Amid tensions we will also find a kind of opportunity to return to talks," Yi said in Beijing on Thursday. "Whoever provokes the situation, whoever continues to make trouble in this place, they will have to assume historical responsibility."

U.S. President Trump has diverted the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group towards the Korean peninsula, which could take more than a week to arrive, in a show of force aimed at deterring North Korea from conducting another nuclear test or launching more missiles to coincide with important events and anniversaries.

Wang was speaking at a joint media briefing in Beijing on Friday, visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.