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Xi urges Trump to exercise restraint on North Korea threat build-up

Xi made it clear in a phone call that he was asking both sides to scale down the rhetoric

IANS  |  Beijing 

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China National Convention Center in Beijing

China's President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged President Donald Trump to exercise restraint following a dramatic exchange of threats between and Pyongyang.

Xi made it clear in a phone call that he was asking both sides to scale down the rhetoric and stressed the importance of diplomacy, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," Xi told Trump during the call.

He also said that was willing to work with the government to resolve the issue, Xinhua news agency reported.

"and the have common interests in achieving de-nuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there," Xi said.

But continued to fuel tension, with the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reporting that almost 3.5 million people, including students and retired soldiers, had asked to join the military to fight against the after the regime announced a retaliation against the on August 7 for its support of the new UNSC sanctions.

Meanwhile, Japan finished installing surface-to-air missile interceptors in the western prefectures that said would be in the flight path of any missiles launched towards Guam, where is threatening an "enveloping strike".

In South Korea, the government began the environmental survey needed to complete the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile system.

Trump, who is scheduled to visit later this year, on Tuesday threatened to respond to further threats from by unleashing "fire and fury" if Pyongyang continued to threaten the or its allies.

He made the comments after intelligence analysts assessed that had produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead. Pyongyang also tested its first two known intercontinental ballistic missiles last month, bringing it a step closer to being able to carry out a nuclear strike on the mainland.

Trump doubled down on his statements since then.

On Friday, he said in a tweet that he had "military solutions" that were "locked and loaded" at his disposal to use against

His comments came after Pyongyang announced a plan to bomb the island of Guam in the Pacific with ballistic missiles. Trump also said on Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "will truly regret" if he issued an overt threat or attacks Guam or a ally.

But he also said he wanted a peaceful solution to the problem.

The White House on Saturday said that Trump and Xi agreed that the "recent adoption of a new UNSC resolution" to tackle North Korea's continuing weapons tests was "an important and necessary step towards achieving peace and stability" in the region.

"The Presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", the statement said.

First Published: Sat, August 12 2017. 18:51 IST