Xi calls for peaceful end to North Korea tensions
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a peaceful resolution of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula in a phone call with US President Donald Trump, as an American aircraft carrier strike group steams towards the region.
Xi’s call with Trump on Wednesday came after an influential state-run Chinese newspaper warned the Korean peninsula was the closest it has been to a “military clash” since Pyongyang’s first nuclear test in 2006.
Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean Peninsula amid concerns reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches and Trump’s threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.
Trump had already ordered the US Vinson aircraft carrier group to head for the Korean peninsula in an attempt to deter North Korea’s ambitions, which it is developing in defiance of United Nations resolutions and sanctions.
Wednesday’s call followed Trump and Xi’s first face-to-face meeting in Florida last week.
North Korea warns of nuclear strike if provoked, Trump 'armada' steams on
North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, as a US Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific – a force US President Donald Trump described as an "armada".
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Trump had initiated the call.
Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in North Korea, had warned earlier on Twitter that Pyongyang was “looking for trouble” and the US would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
Xi stressed in the call that China “is committed to the target of denuclearisation on the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means”, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.
“China is willing to maintain close communication and co-ordination with the US side.”
Earlier on Wednesday, two sources in Tokyo said Japan’s navy planned exercises with the Vinson carrier group in a joint show of force.
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The influential Chinese state-run Global Times also said in an editorial North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile activities “for its own security”.
The editorial noted Trump’s recent decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a deadly gas attack last week.
“Not only Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises,” the Global Times said.
“The US is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests. It doesn’t plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.”
North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the US at any sign of American aggression.
China’s defence ministry says foreign media reports about a build-up of Chinese troops on its border with North Korea are “pure fabrication”.
The ministry made the comment in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
WATCH: US Navy strike group near Korean Peninsula