World

China urges restraint as N. Korea threatens nuke over Pacific

BEIJING: China warned yesterday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was "complicated and sensitive" and called for restraint on all sides after North Korea hinted that it might explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Beijing's appeal came as a war of words between US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un escalated, with the young North Korean leader calling the 71-year-old American President a "mentally deranged US dotard".

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"The situation on the Korean Peninsula now is complicated and sensitive," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a press briefing in Beijing.

"All relevant parties should exercise restraint instead of provoking each other," he said.

"We believe that only if relevant parties meet each other halfway can they really solve the Korean Peninsula issue and truly realise peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

China has repeatedly called for peace talks, suggesting that Pyongyang halt its nuclear tests in return for the US suspending military drills in the region.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono called on countries to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea as part of the pressure to end the regime's nuclear and missile drive.

Mr Kono said that more than 160 countries had diplomatic relations with Mr Kim's regime.

"We have to urge these countries to cut their diplomatic and economic relationships with North Korea," Mr Kono said in a speech at Columbia University on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Echoing the UN address of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr Kono said: "It is not the time for dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Now is the time for the international community as a whole to maximise the pressure on North Korea to take concrete actions towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula."

Mr Kono estimated that North Korea would lose 90 per cent of its export revenue if all nations implemented existing UN Security Council resolutions.

China remains the main economic lifeline for North Korea. - AFP

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