This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 5, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. South Korea and the United States fired off missiles on July 5 simulating a precision strike against North Korea’s leadership, in response to a landmark ICBM test described by Kim Jong-Un as a gift to “American bastards”. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT
China urged the United States and North Korea on Friday to be “cautious” with their words and actions after the two sides stepped up their bellicose rhetoric over Pyongyang’s weapons programme.
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”.
“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.
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.
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”.
The US president also warned North Korea it should be “very, very nervous” of the consequences if it even thinks of attacking US soil, after nuclear-armed Pyongyang said it was readying plans to launch missiles towards the Pacific territory of Guam.
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 Kim 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 programmes in exchange for the United States and South Korea to halt military drills has been ignored.