In his toughest assessment yet of the escalating North Korean ­nuclear crisis, Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned on Friday that a conflict could erupt “at any moment” – and whoever provoked it would pay the price.

Analysts said Wang’s warning reflected the danger of an imminent threat.

“Tensions have risen … and one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment,” Wang said Beijing in a press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

“Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but loss all round and no one will be a ­winner.”