China sought to ease tensions between the U.S. and North Korea on Saturday, urging the leaders of both countries to tone down the inflammatory rhetoric.
Chinese president Xi Jinping spoke to President Trump, who a day earlier said that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he “will regret it fast” if he takes any action against U.S. territories or allies.
China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Xi told Trump a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue was essential and urged calm.
“Concerned parties must exercise restraint and avoid remarks and actions that escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula,” it cited Xi as saying.
‘He will regret it fast’: Trump warns North Korea against attack
In their phone call, Trump and Xi “agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior” and reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.
The relationship between Trump and Xi is “extremely close” and “will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem,” the White House statement added.
North Korea’s Minju Joson newspaper blasted the U.S. in an editorial Saturday.
“The powerful revolutionary Paektusan army of the DPRK, capable of fighting any war the U.S. wants, is now on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack,” it said.
Trump jokes that North Korea’s threats will boost tourism to Guam
DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the socialist nation’s full name.
Tensions began to flare last week after The Washington Post reported that Pyongyang is capable of producing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The news prompted Trump’s promise to rain down “fire and fury” upon the isolated nation.
Days earlier, the United Nations approved sanctions in response to a pair of July missile tests conducted by the North.
Pyongyang responded to Trump by threatening to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam.
Trump: ‘Fire and fury’ statement on North Korea wasn’t enough
The tiny island is home to several U.S. military installations.
Asked Friday if the U.S. was going to war, Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf resort, “I think you know the answer to that.”
Since taking over the Oval Office, Trump has pushed China to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear-weapons program. China is the North’s biggest economic partner and source of aid but says it alone can’t compel Pyongyang to give up its atomic ambitions.
The bluster and back-and-forth between the two countries sparked fears that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could inadvertently initiate a catastrophic conflict.
As a precaution, Japan deployed missile-defense batteries under the path a North Korean missile might take.
Send a Letter to the Editor