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Xi urges Trump to avoid exacerbating North Korea tensions


China’s President Xi Jinping / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Nicolas ASFOURI

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged US President Donald Trump in a phone call Saturday to avoid “words and deeds” that would “exacerbate” the already-tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, state television reported.

Xi also called on “relevant parties to maintain restraint” and to “persist in the general direction of dialogue, negotiations and a political settlement”, CCTV said.

Xi stressed that “China and the US have a common interest in realising the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

Beijing has been voicing some alarm at the growing war of words between Washington and Pyongyang, which included a warning from Trump that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it kept threatening the US.

Trump kept up the tough rhetoric on Friday, warning Pyongyang would “truly regret” taking any hostile action against the US after he tweeted that the US military was “locked and loaded”.

Both leaders said they were looking forward to Trump making a state visit to China this year.

“At the moment, China-US relations are in a state of good development,” Trump said, according to CCTV. “I believe they can become even better.”

China has traditionally been North Korea’s closest ally, but it voted in favour of a series of UN Security Council sanctions against Kim Jong-Un’s regime last weekend.

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