China’s President Xi Jinping said there needs to be a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue, and in a telephone call with US President Donald Trump he urged all sides to avoid words or action that raise tensions.
Xi’s comments came hours after Trump warned North Korea that the US military was “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused the US leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonise North Korea.
In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said Xi told Trump that a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue was essential, and urged calm.
“Concerned parties must exercise restraint and avoid remarks and actions that escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula,” it cited Xi as saying.
In their phone call, Trump and Xi “agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behaviour,” the White House said in a statement, and reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. It added the relationship between Trump and Xi was “extremely close” and “will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem.”
3.5m volunteer to join North Korean Army
North Korea said on Saturday that nearly 3.5 million workers, party members and soldiers volunteered to join or rejoin its army to resist new UN sanctions and to fight against the United States in the current geopolitical tension between Pyongyang and Washington.
Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official newspaper, said the volunteers had offered to join or rejoin the People’s Army after the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a statement on Monday.
Earlier this week, nuclear-armed North Korea threatened to strike the United States and its Pacific territory of Guam.
KCNA said on Wednesday a mass rally was held in Pyongyang to support the government. North Korea has previously mobilised large crowds to show its resolve when tensions escalate.