Chinese President Xi Jinping urged US President Donald Trump on Saturday to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with North Korea as an escalating war of words raised global alarm.
Mr Xi made the plea in a phone call hours after Mr Trump ramped up his warnings to Pyongyang, saying the Stalinist regime would “truly regret” taking hostile action against the United States.
The White House said in a statement that the two leaders “agreed North Korea must stop provocative and escalatory behaviour” and that they are both committed to the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
“The Presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” it added,
But the Chinese foreign ministry said Mr Xi urged Mr Trump to avoid “words and deeds” that would “exacerbate” the already-tense situation, exercise restraint and seek a political settlement.
Mr Trump has been engaged all week in verbal sparring with the North over its weapons and missile programmes, as US media reported Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead.
Meanwhile, US military forces “stand ready” to safeguard Guam after the North threatened to fire ballistic missiles toward the American Pacific island territory, the White House said.
It said Mr Trump “reassured” Guam governor Eddie Calvo in a phone call that the US military would “ensure the safety and security of the people of Guam, along with the rest of America.”
A commentary in the North Korean state-run newspaper Minju Joson called warnings from Mr Trump and “other riffraff of the US...the last-ditch efforts and hysteric fit of those...in the grip of despair”.