China has renewed calls for international sanctions on North Korea to be lifted and accused the United States of stoking regional tensions with talks to hold military exercises with the South . In an address to an online Asean foreign ministers forum on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the joint exercises would undermine efforts to resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula. “If the US really wants to restore dialogue with North Korea, it should not take any actions that will intensify tensions,” the Chinese foreign ministry quoted him as saying. “Given that North Korea has already stopped nuclear and long-range missile tests, its legitimate concerns should be addressed. An effective way to resolve the current deadlock is to lift sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations Security Council.” North Korea pushed by food crisis to restore hotline with South, analyst says South Korea’s defence ministry said on Monday that Seoul and Washington were in talks over a joint military exercise, but no decision had been made. Pyongyang warned Seoul that the drills would undermine efforts to rebuild their relations. Seoul and Washington regularly conduct joint drills, which Pyongyang has denounced as preparation for war. The two Koreas have only just reconnected hotlines severed by Pyongyang a year ago, a move seen as an attempt by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to repair damaged ties. Chinese analysts said the North agreed to resume the hotline because it needed food aid from both the South and China as it battled the Covid-19 pandemic. Zhou Chenming, a Beijing-based military commentator, said Wang’s call at the Asean meeting was meant to inform countries in the region about the food crisis in North Korea. “The problem so far cannot be solved by economic aid from China and South Korea. It is not a sustainable approach,” Zhou said. “The relationship between Pyongyang and Asean was quite good before the North started missile tests [in 2006].” North Korea threatens to again suspend ties with South over joint military drills with US Without referring directly to the US, Wang also told the Asean meeting that the group should be the main cooperation mechanism for the region, and China opposed moves by “external nations” to set up a new military alliance. “In recent years, some large countries outside the region have tried to implement new regional strategies to use military deterrence to engage in group confrontation. This tendency is very dangerous and should be stopped,” Wang said. The US is staging military drills in the Asia-Pacific region with its allies, including Britain, Japan and Australia. Wang also said there should not be any interference in other nation’s affairs. “Southeast Asian nations have the common experience of being bullied by other strong powers. We don’t need a ‘master’ nor a ‘saviour’ for us nowadays. The destiny of all countries should be in their own hands, and the future of the region should be jointly developed by all countries,” he said.