with Trump, China's Xi urges restraint over North Korea
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[August 12, 2017]
By James Oliphant and Ben Blanchard
BEDMINSTER, N.J./BEIJING (Reuters) -
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 U.S. 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 U.S.
military was "locked and loaded" as Pyongyang accused the U.S. 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. [nL4N1KY04N]
"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."
Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, earlier
took to Twitter to warn North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that U.S.
"military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should
North Korea act unwisely".
Again referring to Kim, Trump added, "If he utters one threat ... or if
he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an
American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he
will regret it fast."
In remarks to reporters after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Trump
said the situation with North Korea was "very dangerous and it will not
He added, "We will see what happens. We think that lots of good things
could happen, and we could also have a bad solution."
Despite the tough rhetoric, Trump insisted that "nobody loves a peaceful
solution better than President Trump."
South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a statement on Saturday
the United States and China were working to resolve the North Korea
crisis, and it hoped the two leaders' phone call "will be able to
resolve the peak of tension and act as a catalyst for the situation to
move on to a new dimension."
TRUMP TO GUAM: "YOU'RE SAFE"
Guam, the Pacific island that is a U.S. territory and home to a U.S. air
base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and around 6,000 U.S.
military personnel, posted emergency guidelines on Friday to help
residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack. [nL1N1KX166]
North Korean state news agency KCNA said on Thursday the North Korean
army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range
missiles over Japan to land in the sea 18 to 25 miles (30 to 40 km) from
Japan's government decided to deploy its Patriot missile defence system
to four locations in the west of the country, media reported. No one at
Japan's defence ministry was available to comment on Saturday.
The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, posted a video on Facebook of
himself speaking with Trump. "We are with you a thousand percent. You
are safe," Trump told Calvo.
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after a security briefing
with Vice President Mike Pence (R) at Trump's golf estate in
Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Washington wants to stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear missiles
that could hit the United States. North Korea sees its nuclear
arsenal as protection against the United States and its partners in
Trump said he was considering additional sanctions on North Korea,
adding these would be "very strong." He gave no details and did not
make clear whether he meant unilateral or multilateral sanctions.
U.S. officials have said new U.S. steps that would target Chinese
banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but
these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show
it is serious about enforcing new U.N. sanctions. [nL1N1KV05L]
Trump said he did not want to talk about diplomatic "back channels"
with North Korea after U.S. media reports that Joseph Yun, the U.S.
envoy for North Korea policy, had engaged in diplomacy for several
months with Pak Song Il, a senior diplomat at Pyongyang's U.N.
mission, on the deteriorating ties and the issue of Americans
imprisoned in North Korea.
But Daniel Russel, until April the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia,
said this so-called New York channel had been a relatively
commonplace means of communication with North Korea over the years,
and was not a forum for negotiation.
"It's never been a vehicle for negotiations and this doesn’t
constitute substantive U.S.-DPRK dialogue," he said, using the
acronym for North Korea's formal name, Democratic People's Republic
Both Moscow and Berlin expressed alarm over the rise in rhetoric
over North Korea, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged
Pyongyang and Washington to sign up to a joint Russian-Chinese plan
by which North Korea would freeze missile tests and the United
States and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale
military exercises. Neither the United States nor North Korea has
embraced the plan. [nL5N1KX41K]
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is no military solution,
adding that "an escalation of the rhetoric is the wrong answer."
As the rhetoric has ratcheted up, South Koreans are buying more
ready-to-eat meals for emergency use, and the government aims to
expand nationwide civil defence drills planned for Aug. 23. Hundreds
of thousands of troops and huge arsenals are arrayed on both sides
of the tense demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. [nL4N1KX21X]
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, David Brunnstrom and Idrees
Ali in WASHINGTON, Dahee Kim, Haejin Choi and Christine Kim in
SEOUL, Dustin Volz in SAN FRANCISCO, Tim Kelly in TOKYO, Martin
Petty in GUAM, Michelle Nichols at the UNITED NATIONS, Dmitry
Solovyov in MOSCOW, Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel in BERLIN; Writing
by Will Dunham, Eric Beech and Ian Geoghegan; Editing by Clarence
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