China says Korean situation 'extremely precarious'

China is warning that the situation on the Korean peninsula is "extremely precarious."

The statement by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun scales up China's response to the tensions between South Korea and North Korea.

South Korean troops are preparing to conduct artillery drills on a border island shelled by North Korea last month, and the North has threatened to retaliate again.

China, the North's key ally, has already said it is firmly against any acts that could worsen the already-high tensions.

Zhang's statement was posted Saturday night on the foreign ministry's website.