As President Donald Trump continues to spout threats against North Korea, China entreated the U.S. to please “cool it” and “stop with the games.”
In an editorial published on Tuesday in the People’s Daily, China urged the U.S. and North Korea to engage in “dialogue and negotiation” to find a solution to this ongoing “security dilemma.”
“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula remains highly complex and severe,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying. “We hope that various parties can strictly observe and implement the UN Security Council resolutions, refrain from provoking each other and aggravating the contradiction [and] exercise restraint and caution to ease the tension.”
In its latest show of force against North Korea, the U.S. military flew two Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday. The action came just days after Trump — in a couple of tweets — appeared to suggest that a military option would be the “only” way to deal with North Korea.
On Wednesday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Trump had “lit the wick of war” against his country, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency.
“By his bellicose and insane statement in the UN arena, Trump ― it can be said ― lit the wick of the war against us,” said Ri, referring to Trump’s speech at the United Nations last month. “We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.”
During the U.N. speech, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said, using his nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In the People’s Daily editorial this week, China urged Trump to ditch his inflammatory rhetoric and seek a more diplomatic route.
“Trump has repeatedly made clear his distaste for dialogue with and preference for military action” against North Korea, the paper said. “But war on the Korean Peninsula would be catastrophic, and dialogue remains the best option.”
The paper added that Trump’s threats do “seem to be part of a larger strategy, coherent or not, to instill fear in Pyongyang, so that it will agree to U.S. demands to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”
However, it warned, this “strategy could backfire bigly.”