The Latest: China urges US, Iran to avoid further escalation

The Latest: China urges US, Iran to avoid further escalation
FILE - In this May 8, 2018 file photo President Donald Trump shows a signed Presidential Memorandum after delivering a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. Iran said Monday, June 17, 2019, it will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on developments as the U.S. and Iran edge toward a flashpoint amid escalation in the Persian Gulf region (all times local):

3:35 a.m.

China’s top diplomat has warned the United States against opening a “Pandora’s box” in the Middle East after a recent flare-up in tension between Washington and Tehran.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on both countries to avoid escalating the situation, echoing earlier statements by Chinese officials following last week’s apparent attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

Wang spoke on Tuesday at a news conference in Beijing after meeting his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem.

Iran has denied a U.S. accusation that it was behind the attacks, which hit Norwegian and Japanese ships off Iran’s coast. Each vessel was loaded with petroleum products, and one was set ablaze.

China is the world’s largest buyer of Iranian oil and has maintained its support for the Iran nuclear deal.

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3:25 a.m.

It’s a test of resolve and credibility for the United States and Iran as the two adversaries take steps sure to further inflame tensions in the Mideast and draw them closer to a flashpoint.

Iran says it’s breaking compliance with the international agreement that keeps it from making nuclear weapons. The Trump administration followed that announcement by ordering 1,000 more troops to the Middle East.

Iran soon could start enriching uranium to a step away from weapons-grade levels. That’s a challenge to President Donald Trump’s assurances to allies that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal last year made the world a safer place.

Iran’s president says his country does “not wage war with any nation” and that “the entire Iranian nation is unanimous in confronting” U.S. pressures.