China against US stoking tensions with N Korea
Beijing, China - China responded to US President Donald Trump’s apocalyptic ‘fire and fury’ threat against North Korea by pointedly warning on Wednesday against any rhetoric that could inflame tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programmes.
Calling the situation on the Korean Peninsula ‘complicated and sensitive’, China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning that parties involved in the impasse should avoid ‘words and actions that escalate the situation’.
The ministry had been asked to respond to Trump’s comment on Tuesday that North Korea would 'be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen' if it did not refrain from further bellicose threats against the US.
Trump’s warning came as Pyongyang said it was considering a missile strike near the US territory of Guam and after US media reported North Korea may have successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead, considered a key step in becoming a full nuclear power.
Trump’s tone was markedly different to Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State’s assurances last week that Washington was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang.
North Korea raised the stakes just hours after Trump’s warning, saying it was considering missile strikes near US strategic military installations on the Pacific island of Guam.
Once finalised, the plan could be put into action at ‘any moment’ once leader Kim Jong-Un made a decision, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a military statement as saying.
China, Pyongyang’s traditional ally and biggest trading partner, has long called for US and North Korea to exercise restraint in the impasse and seek a negotiated solution that would de-nuclearise its secretive neighbour.
Germany urges ‘restraint’
Germany on Wednesday urged North Korea and the US to show ‘restraint’ after apocalyptic threats from Pyongyang and Trump.
“We are watching the increasing rhetorical escalation regarding the Korean Peninsula with the greatest concern,” Martin Schaefer, Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters.
“That is why we call on all sides to use restraint.”
Schaefer said Berlin was convinced a ‘military option’ could not be ‘the answer in the quest for a nuclear weapon-free’ region.
He urged the international community to ‘thoroughly implement’ the latest round of sanctions against North Korea approved by the United Nations Security Council.
And he backed a call by Tillerson to resume talks with Pyongyang.