China refrained on Thursday from condemning North Korea's latest firing of ballistic missiles, only saying it will continue to work to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Resolving issues related to North Korea through dialogue and consultation is in the "common interests" of all countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. (Kyodo)

Beijing has always called on other nations to try to "advance the political settlement process on the peninsula and make active efforts to achieve long-term peace and stability there and the region," she added.

Her remarks came as China and North Korea have pledged to bolster relations, with their ties with the United States showing few signs of improving anytime soon since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged messages and reaffirmed the necessity of joining hands to strengthen cooperation between the two friendly socialist neighbors.

Beijing and Washington remain at odds over several matters, including trade, state-of-the-art technology and alleged human rights abuses, while U.S.-North Korea negotiations on denuclearization and sanctions relief have been at a standstill for years.

On Thursday morning, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, conducting its first such launch in a year and putting pressure on the Biden administration. A series of U.N. Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from any tests using ballistic missile technologies.

The first missile was launched from near Sondok on North Korea's eastern coast shortly after 7 a.m. and the second from the same location about 20 minutes later, Japan's Defense Ministry said.

China is North Korea's closest and most influential ally.

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