China pleaded with the United States and North Korea to tone down their fiery rhetoric on Friday.
Beijing’s appeal followed an escalation of a war of words between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear-armed regime.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on both sides to avoid “going down the old path of alternately showing strength and continuously escalating the situation”.
“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 has repeatedly called for a resumption of long-dormant six-party talks to peacefully resolve the mounting tensions, but its position has been overshadowed by the emerging game of brinkmanship.
Beijing’s proposal for North Korea to suspend its weapons programs in exchange for the United States and South Korea to halt military drills has essentially been ignored.
President Donald Trump on Thursday hardened his warning that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it kept threatening the US, saying maybe that tough talk “wasn’t tough enough”.
Trump also warned North Korea it should be “very, very nervous” of the consequences if it even thinks of attacking US soil, after Pyongyang said it was readying plans to launch missiles towards the Pacific territory of Guam.
The Republican billionaire dismissed any criticism of his “fire and fury” warning of Tuesday, citing threats made by Kim’s regime to both Washington and its allies.
“It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said.