China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged US President Donald Trump to exercise restraint following a dramatic exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang.
Xi made it clear in a phone call that he was asking both sides to scale down the rhetoric and stressed the importance of diplomacy, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Xi told Trump during the call.
He also said that China was willing to work with the US government to resolve the issue, Xinhua news agency reported.
“China and the US have common interests in achieving denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there,” Xi said.
But North Korea continued to fuel tension, with the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reporting that almost 3.5 million people, including students and retired soldiers, had asked to join the military to fight against the US after the regime announced a retaliation against the US on August 7 for its support of the new UNSC sanctions.
Meanwhile, Japan finished installing surface-to-air missile interceptors in the western prefectures that North Korea said would be in the flight path of any missiles launched towards Guam, where North Korea is threatening an “enveloping strike”.
In South Korea, the government began the environmental survey needed to complete the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile system.
Trump, who is scheduled to visit China later this year, on Tuesday threatened to respond to further threats from North Korea by unleashing “fire and fury” if Pyongyang continued to threaten the US or its allies.
He made the comments after US intelligence analysts assessed that North Korea had produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead. Pyongyang also tested its first two known intercontinental ballistic missiles last month, bringing it a step closer to being able to carry out a nuclear strike on the US mainland.
Trump doubled down on his statements since then. On Friday, he said in a tweet that he had “military solutions” that were “locked and loaded” at his disposal to use against North Korea.
His comments came after Pyongyang announced a plan to bomb the US island of Guam in the Pacific with ballistic missiles. Trump also said on Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “will truly regret” if he issued an overt threat or attacks Guam or a US ally.
But he also said he wanted a peaceful solution to the problem.
The White House on Saturday said that Trump and Xi agreed that the “recent adoption of a new UNSC resolution” to tackle North Korea’s continuing weapons tests was “an important and necessary step towards achieving peace and stability” in the region.
“The Presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, the statement said.