BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- China urged all relevant parties on Monday to take a "comprehensive" approach to deal with North Korea's latest nuclear test, repeating Beijing's long-standing stance that is seen as more accommodating towards Pyongyang.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks in response to North Korea's proposal last Friday that it would stop nuclear tests if the United States halts joint military drills with South Korea.
"The Chinese side believes that a comprehensive approach needs to be sorted out to address the cause and crux of the Korean nuclear issue," Hong told a daily press briefing.
"We hope that all sides can calmly react to the current situation, stick to dialogue and consultations, work toward the same direction and properly deal with each other's concerns," Hong said.
The Jan. 6 nuclear test by North Korea prompted South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to call on China to join them in adopting tougher U.N. sanctions against the isolated regime's fourth nuclear test.
But China's reactions to such calls have been lukewarm. China is North Korea's top trading partner and supplies almost all of the isolated nation's energy needs, but many analysts believe that China's Communist Party leadership won't exert enough leverage on North Korea because a sudden collapse of the North's regime could threaten China's own security interests.
Analysts say China is expected to back only a limited version of new U.N. sanctions against North Korea's latest nuclear test because Beijing fears pushing Pyongyang too hard could lead to its collapse, instability on its border, and ultimately the emergence of a pro-U.S. and democratic country next door.