Moscow (AFP) - Russia and China on Tuesday called for a simultaneous freeze on North Korean nuclear and missile tests and military exercises by the United States as tensions ratcheted up on the peninsula.
"The two sides propose that the DPRK (North Korea) as a voluntary political decision declares a moratorium on testing nuclear explosive devices and ballistic rocket launches, and the US and South Korea refrain from carrying out large-scale joint exercises," their foreign ministries said in a joint statement.
"Parallel to this the opposing sides should start negotiations and affirm general principles of their relations including the non-use of force, rejection of aggression and peaceful coexistence," the statement said.
The joint statement issued after a meeting between leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in Moscow followed an announcement by North Korea that it had test fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
The claim could be a watershed moment in Pyongyang's push to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the mainland United States -- although Moscow and Washington cast doubt on the claim it was a long-range missile.
The test sparked a Twitter outburst from US President Donald Trump who urged North Korea's closest ally China to act to "end this nonsense once and for all".
In their joint statement Russia and China condemned the missile test announcement as "unacceptable" and urged against "any statements or actions that could lead to an increase in tensions".
China has previously called for a "dual track" approach of "suspension for suspension" that would see North Korea and the US ease up on tensions, and now Russia has added its weight to the plan.