China urges Trump to tone down North Korea rhetoric
Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged US President Donald Trump on Saturday to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with North Korea as an escalating war of words raised global alarm. Xi made the plea in a phone call hours after Trump ramped up his warnings to Pyongyang, saying the Stalinist regime would ‘truly regret’ taking hostile action against the US.
The White House said in a statement that the two leaders ‘agreed North Korea must stop provocative and escalatory behaviour’ and that they are both committed to the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
But the Chinese foreign ministry said Xi urged Trump to avoid ‘ words and deeds’ that would ‘exacerbate’ the alreadytense situation, exercise restraint and seek a political settlement.
Trump has been engaged all week in verbal sparring with the North over its weapons and missile programmes, as US media reported Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead.
Trump has progressively ramped up the tone throughout the week and on Friday declared that the US military is ‘locked and loaded’. Japanese media said Tokyo was deploying its Patriot missile defence system following Pyongyang’s threat to fire ballistic missiles over the country towards Guam.