Chinese President Xi Jinping called for restraint during a phone call Saturday with President Donald Trump over the escalating tensions with North Korea.
His phone call comes after a week of threats between Washington and Pyongyang.
Trump threatened North Korea this week, saying he will unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Pyongyang has said it will strike the US territory of Guam with ballistic missiles.
Trump stood by his bellicose rhetoric on North Korea on Friday, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “will truly regret it and he will regret it fast” if he issues an overt threat or attacks Guam or a US ally.
Xi urged both sides to avoid escalating the tensions, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Xi stressed that China and the US share a common interest in the denuclearization of the peninsula as well as maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.
“At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. We must ultimately adhere to the general direction of dialogue and political settlement to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.”
The White House confirmed that Trump talked to Xi. It said both leaders agreed North Korea must stop provocative behavior.
“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,” the White House said in a statement.
North Korea threats
Saber-rattling from the rogue nation has dominated Trump’s 17-day working vacation in New Jersey. He has said there are good options on the table for dealing with the tensions.
“Hopefully it will all work out,” Trump said before the call with Xi. “Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump, that I can tell you. But this has been going on for many years. Would have been a lot easier to solve this years ago, before they were in the position they are in.
Foreign policy and national security experts have raised questions about Trump’s threatening response to North Korea, noting that past administrations have tried to avoid the President commenting on North Korea’s threats in order to avoid giving them credibility.