BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – China on Monday called for all sides in the North Korea missile crisis to show restraint and not “add oil to the flames” amid an exchange of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Pyongyang’s leader a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump said on Twitter late on Saturday.
North Korea, which has pursued its missile and nuclear programs in defiance of international condemnation, said it “bitterly condemned the reckless remarks” of the U.S. president, saying they were an “intolerable insult to the Korean people” and a declaration of war, the North’s official news agency said on Monday.
In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim described Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” whom he would tame with fire.
Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear program was “the correct path”.
Trump threatened in his maiden U.N. address on Tuesday to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people if North Korea threatened the United States or its allies.
Asked how concerned China was the war of words between Trump and North Korea could get out of control, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang described the situation as highly complex and sensitive.
It was vitally important everyone strictly, fully and correctly implemented all North Korea related U.N. resolutions, Lu said, resolutions which call for both tighter sanctions and efforts to resume dialogue.
All sides should “not further irritate each other and add oil to the flames of the tense situation on the peninsula at present”, Lu told a daily news briefing.
“We hope all sides do not continue…