Bedminster, NJ: China’s President Xi Jinping said there needs to be a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue, and in a telephone call with US President Donald Trump he urged all sides to avoid words or action that raise tensions.
Xi’s comments came hours after Trump warned North Korea that the US military was “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused the US leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonise North Korea.
In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said Xi told Trump that a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue was essential, and urged calm.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
“Concerned parties must exercise restraint and avoid remarks and actions that escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula,” it cited Xi as saying.
In their phone call, Trump and Xi “agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behaviour”, the White House said in a statement, and reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. It added the relationship between Trump and Xi was “extremely close” and “will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem”. Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, earlier took to Twitter to warn North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that US “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely”.
Again referring to Kim, Trump added, “If he utters one threat ... or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast”. In remarks to reporters after a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Trump said the situation with North Korea was “very dangerous and it will not continue”.
He added: “We will see what happens. We think that lots of good things could happen, and we could also have a bad solution.” Despite the tough rhetoric, Trump insisted that “nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump”.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement on Saturday the United States and China were working to resolve the North Korea crisis, and it hoped the two leaders’ phone call “will be able to resolve the peak of tension and act as a catalyst for the situation to move on to a new dimension.”
Guam, the Pacific island that is a US territory and home to a US air base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and around 6,000 US military personnel, posted emergency guidelines on Friday to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack.
North Korean state news agency KCNA said on Thursday the North Korean army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land in the sea 30km to 40km from Guam.
Japan’s government decided to deploy its Patriot missile defence system to four locations in the west of the country, media reported. No one at Japan’s defence ministry was available to comment on Saturday.
The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, posted a video on Facebook of himself speaking with Trump. “We are with you a thousand percent. You are safe,” Trump told Calvo.
Washington wants to stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear missiles that could hit the United States. North Korea sees its nuclear arsenal as protection against the United States and its partners in Asia.
Trump said he was considering additional sanctions on North Korea, adding these would be “very strong”. He gave no details and did not make clear whether he meant unilateral or multilateral sanctions.
U.S. officials have said new U.S. steps that would target Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show it is serious about enforcing new UN sanctions.