China said Wednesday that North Korea and the United States should hold their historic summit as planned after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.

North Korea also cancelled high-level talks due Wednesday with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises being held between the US and South Korea, denouncing the drills as a “rude and wicked provocation”.

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Max Thunder military exercises. Photo: Screenshot/CGTN.

“The situation on the peninsula has eased up, which is worth cherishing,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

“We hope… some of the high-level meetings that (the two sides) have been working towards can be held smoothly and… results can be achieved,” he said.

“Only in this way can the easing up of the peninsula be consolidated, contributing to peace and stability in the region.”

North Korea threatened Wednesday to withdraw from the June 12 summit in Singapore if Washington seeks to push Pyongyang into unilaterally giving up its nuclear arsenal.

It is a sudden and dramatic return to the rhetoric of the past by Pyongyang, after months of rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the flashpoint peninsula.

In the past, North Korea has demanded the withdrawal of US troops stationed in the South to protect it from its neighbour, and an end to Washington’s nuclear umbrella over its security ally.

“All parties concerned should express goodwill toward each other, avoid mutual provocations and further tension, so that they can jointly provide the necessary conditions and atmosphere for a political settlement of the peninsula issue through dialog,” Lu said.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has met Kim twice over the last two months, as Beijing warms up to its Cold War-era ally following a chill in relations.

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