China warned Monday that the US plan to beef up missile defenses in response to threats from North Korea would further strain regional tensions, urging Washington to seek solutions to the issue via diplomatic means.
"The anti-missile issue concerns global and regional strategic balance and stability, as well as strategic trust between relevant countries. Actions of bolstering anti-missile defenses will only inflame antagonism and will not help to find a solution for the problem," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily press briefing.
China hopes relevant countries can adopt a responsible attitude and act in a cautious manner, Hong added.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday that Washington would deploy an additional 14 ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska in response to provocations from North Korea, bringing its total number to 44.
Pyongyang threatened to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against the US after the UN slapped new sanctions over North Korea's nuclear test last month.
North Korea also test-fired short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Friday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, after North leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a live-fire drill near the disputed Yellow Sea border with the South.
US Congressman Mike Rogers, a member of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, told CNN Sunday that North Korea has the ability to hit US shores with a ballistic missile.
The ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads and use them on intercontinental rockets is very complicated and it would take a long time to acquire the ability, Lü Chao, director of the Korean Research Center at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
"I think the US was quite clear that North Korea's threats are more rhetoric than action, but the US still wanted to use the opportunity to ramp up its military deterrence against North Korea," Lü noted.
US President Barack Obama told ABC News in an interview last week that he did not think Pyongyang could carry out a missile attack on the US, but said Washington should be wary.
The US move could also have other significant regional implications, Lü added, noting that Alaska is also close to Russian territory and China.
Agencies contributed to this story