China against US stok­ing ten­sions with N Korea

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

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.

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