BOAO, China -- In an indirect but clear reference to the North Korean crisis, China's President Xi Jinping said Sunday that no country should be allowed to threaten world peace.
"No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain," said Mr. Xi in a speech at an annual regional business forum in this east coast tourist town. Mr. Xi did not name any countries or disputes, but in separate remarks, China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday repeated its "grave concern" over the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
At the same time, South Korea's government warned that North Korea might carry out a provocation this week, possibly a missile test, as a way to extract concessions from the United States and South Korea.
As North Korea's major ally, China has been discomfited by the behavior of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but it has refrained from making pronouncements that would signal what, if anything, it planned to do to try to curb Pyongyang.
The Obama administration, in response to North Korea's threats to fire missiles at the U.S., has said that it will strengthen its missile defenses, and has sent jet fighters, bombers and warships to the area as a show of support for South Korea.
Mr. Xi did not mention the U.S. actions in his speech at the Boao forum, but China has grown increasingly concerned about efforts by the United States to reassert itself in Asia. He said Asia's stability faced new challenges as "hot spot issues keep emerging and both traditional and nontraditional security threats" surfaced.
Obama administration officials say that Beijing faces a choice between reining in North Korea or facing a larger U.S. military presence in East Asia. But it is unclear how much China can moderate North Korea's behavior.
The North ignored China's wishes when it carried out a nuclear test in February. That test led to more economic sanctions by the United Nations -- actions that China agreed to despite reservations about their effectiveness -- and set the stage for the North's latest conflict with the U.S. and South Korea.
The South Korean government's latest warning came three days after its defense minister said the North had moved a missile with a "considerable range" to its east coast, although it is not capable of reaching the mainland U.S.
Kim Jang-soo, director of national security for South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, said during a meeting of security-related officials Sunday that the North "may launch a provocation, such as missile launch," around Wednesday.
The missile that was moved is widely believed to be the Musudan, which the South Korean military and analysts say has the range to hit not only South Korea and Japan, but perhaps U.S. bases in Guam as well.
"North Korea has been engaged in a so-called headline strategy," Kim Jang-soo said, referring to an almost daily drumbeat of North Korean threats since early March and the news stories they have generated.
North Korea is raising tensions in an effort to frighten and force the U.S. and South Korea into negotiations and concessions, he said. The pressure was also aimed at China and Russia in an effort to push them to mediate on North Korea's behalf, he said.
"We see through their motive," he said. "Although North Korea shows no signs of attempting a full-scale war, it will suffer damage many times more than we do if it launches even a localized provocation." South Korea "has no intention of attempting premature dialogue just because of a crisis," Mr. Kim said, urging the North to ease tensions so dialogue can start.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama's senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, described North Korea's recent moves as "a concerning situation," but one that reflected "a pattern of behavior we've seen from the North Koreans many times."
In an interview on the ABC News program "This Week," Mr. Pfeiffer said North Korea needed to halt its "provocative actions" and "bellicose rhetoric."