BEIJING, China - Urging for restraint and asking both the U.S. and North Korea to scale down the rhetoric, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a conversation with Donald Trump after a dramatic exchange of threats between the U.S. President and North Korea.
China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Jinping made it clear in the call that he was asking both sides to scale down the rhetoric and stressed the importance of diplomacy.
According to the statement, Jinping said, "At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump’s 17-day working vacation in New Jersey has been dominated by North Korea and the threats it has been making.
On Tuesday, tensions soared when Trump appeared to threaten nuclear war on North Korea, saying he would unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if Pyongyang continued to threaten the U.S. or its allies.
Trump’s comments came after U.S. intelligence analysts assessed that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
Last month, Pyongyang tested its first two known intercontinental ballistic missiles, bringing it a step closer to being able to carry out a nuclear strike on the U.S. mainland.
North Korea responded the next day by issuing a statement on its state-run Korean Central News Agency that said the North is “seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.S.”
On Friday, Trump said in a tweet that he had "military solutions" that were "locked and loaded" at his disposal to use on North Korea.
Trump also said Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "will truly regret it and he will regret it fast" if he issued an overt threat or attacks Guam or a U.S. ally.
At the same time, he said he wanted a peaceful solution to the problem.
Referring to himself in the third person, he said, "Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump, that I can tell you.
Then, he warned that "we also could have a bad solution."
When asked if that bad solution meant war, Trump responded, "I think you know that answer to that.”
However, not everyone wants a war to be the solution - with some countries sounding the alarm over the provocative exchange and have called for calm, like China.
Others, however, back Trump and his tough stance.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the escalation as "the wrong answer” and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was "very worrying."
U.K.’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft appeared to back Trump's initial "fire and fury" comments when asked about them, reiterating that the U.K. "stands shoulder to shoulder" with the U.S. on the issue.
North Korea meanwhile continues to fuel tensions, with the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reporting on Saturday that almost 3.5 million people, including students and retired soldiers, have asked to join or re-join the North Korean military to fight against the United States over the latest sanctions it encouraged through the UN Security Council.
The newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party said, “All the people are rising up across the country to retaliate against the U.S. thousands of times.”
The report showed that the North Korean regime is not backing down in the face of Trump’s threats.
Japan, on the other hand, declared that it had 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 toward Guam, where North Korea is threatening an “enveloping strike.”
Further, in South Korea, the government began the environmental survey needed to complete the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
The White House on Saturday confirmed that Trump talked to Jinping and said both leaders agreed North Korea must stop its provocative behaviour.
The White House said in a statement, “The leaders affirmed that the recent adoption of a new United Nations Security Council resolution regarding North Korea was an important and necessary step toward achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”