China Pleads With Trump, Kim to Stop Hurling Threats

Don't 'add oil to the flames,' urges Beijing official after latest rhetoric
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2017 10:07 AM CDT
China Urges US, N. Korea to Calm Down
A man watches a television screen showing President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Seoul, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

After a weekend of additional threats traded between the US and North Korea, a top official in Beijing urged both sides to rein it in. The White House and Pyongyang should "not further irritate each other and add oil to the flames of the tense situation on the peninsula at present," says a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, per Reuters. The plea came after a North Korean official told the UN Saturday that a nuclear strike against the US is "inevitable" because of President Trump's mockery of Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man." Trump followed that up with a threatening tweet Saturday night: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" (And that's after Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the North, and Kim's reference to Trump as "mentally deranged.")

Over the weekend, China said it would ban textile imports from North Korea and limit exports of refined petroleum products, but an analysis at the Washington Post asserts that Beijing is still "not prepared to do anything that might bring down the North Korean regime." Specifically, that would mean putting a full stop to exports of crude oil to the North. "The North Koreans have figured out that the Chinese are genuinely in a bind," says one expert from the Lowy Institute in Australia. "Having cried wolf for so long about having limited influence, the Chinese genuinely do have limited influence in North Korea right now. It's not just weasel words." Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated to British leader Theresa May in a phone call that he thinks the situation must be resolved through new talks. (More North Korea stories.)

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