China Urges Both US and North Korea to Stop Building Up Tensions on Korean Peninsula

A group of North Korean defectors, who have settled in South Korea, call for China to not send seized North Korean defectors back to the North and release them, during a press conference in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, 09 August 2017. Photo: Yonhap/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • China’s Foreign Ministry has appealed to both the US and North Korea to be cautious with their words and actions.
  • It has told them to ‘refrain from an old path of flaunting powers’.
  • Chinese position has come after North Korea threatened to fire missiles to contain the US forces in Guam.
  • Chinese proposal for ending North Korea weapons development in exchange for ending US-South Korean military drills has been left unanswered by all.

China has called upon both the United States and North Korea to refrain from power statements and abstain from hiking tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid the fiery rhetoric now coming from both sides, increasingly with US President Donald Trump’s participation.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump vowed an even tougher stance against the regime of North Korea, saying that his “fire and fury” comment made earlier this week was probably not tough enough.

Before that, however, North Korea’s military announced it was working on a plan to “contain” the US air, naval, and missile bases on the Pacific island of Guam by firing four intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBMs) to “envelop” it.

US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently declared the United Stated was prepared to wage a “preventive war” against North Korea if that was to be deemed necessary – although the current deployment of the US aircraft carriers does not seem to bode a military operation.

North Korea’s military has reacted angrily by stating its preparedness to “contain” the US bases on the Pacific island of Guam with missile strikes.

On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis just warned the regime of Kim Jong-un not to invite its own destruction, while earlier this week US President Donald Trump threatened that the North Korean regime will face “fire and fury” if it kept posing as a menace to America.

At the end of last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions on North Korea – the single largest sanctions package on it so far – because of the recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests of the Kim Jong-un regime.

North Korea’s regime condemned the newly imposed UN sanctions, while refusing to negotiate over its nuclear weapons and vowing to make the US “pay a price” for its “hostility.”

At the end of July, North Korea test-fired an improved intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a Hwasong-14, that could strike the US mainland, purportedly, as far east as Chicago.

That was the second missile alleged to be an ICBM to be tested by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after on July 4, it carried out a ballistic missile test, and claimed that the rocket was the much coveted intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea has also threatened that it would carry out a nuclear strike “at the heart of the United States” if the US attempted a regime change in Pyongyang, after recent hints to that end by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

North Korea’s latest missile test was its 13th (and tenth successful one) since US President Donald Trump assumed office in January.

A US nuclear expert has warned that Kim Jong-un might be coming closer to being able to produce a hydrogen bomb, also known as thermonuclear weapon, as it is able to produce tritium, a key element.

The US State Department has announced a ban on all Americans from traveling to North Korea following the death of US college student Otto Warmbier who passed away in June 2017 after 17 months in North Korean captivity.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, China, 14 July 2017. Photo: How Hwee-young/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

‘Refrain from an Old Path’

China on Friday called on the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), i.e. North Korea, to refrain from the old path of flaunting power and raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks in a press statement in response to the recent spat between the United States and North Korea over the situation on the peninsula.

“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive. We call on the relevant parties to be cautious with their words and actions, and contribute more toward easing tensions and enhancing mutual trust,” Geng said in a statement.

“China hopes that all related parties…  refrain from an old path of flaunting powers and raising tensions,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on both sides to avoid “alternately showing strength and continuously escalating the situation”.

The spokesman was responding to a question about North Korea threatening to fire missiles towards Guam and US President Donald Trump’s dire warnings against North Korea, AFP reported.

On Thursday Trump hardened his warning that North Korea’s regime should be “very, very nervous” of the consequences if it ever thought of attacking US soil, after nuclear-armed Pyongyang said it was readying plans to launch missiles towards the Pacific territory of Guam.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng’s statement did not address Trump’s comment that China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic ally and economic partner, could “do a lot more” to pressure the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to end his country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

China has repeatedly called for dialogue to peacefully resolve the mounting tensions, but its proposal for North Korea to suspend its weapons programs in exchange for the United States and South Korea halting joint military drills has been ignored.

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