Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged restraint in a phone call with President Trump on Saturday, following a week of blustery rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S.
Xi warned that “concerned parties” should avoid “remarks and actions” that could escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula, according to the state-run New China News Agency. He reiterated China’s desire to work with the U.S., citing “common interests” in preserving stability in the region.
Trump understands China’s efforts to resolve the issue, the report said, and both leaders agreed to keep in close contact. The call took place late Friday evening on the East Coast.
State media portrayed Xi as the voice of calm amid a trade-off of threats this week between Pyongyang and Washington. Trump on Friday said the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would “regret it fast” if he endangered the U.S. or its allies. The isolated nation, earlier this week, laid out a detailed plan to launch ballistic missiles into waters near Guam, a U.S. territory.
China has repeatedly called for negotiations and scorned military action. It agreed to recent United Nations sanctions but fears a refugee crisis and the loss of a buffer state if North Korea’s economy collapses.
The Global Times, a Communist Party tabloid, warned Friday that China wouldn’t assist North Korea if it attacked U.S. territory and America retaliated. But if the U.S and South Korea try to carry out strikes and overthrow the North Korean government, “China will prevent them from doing so.”
U.S. officials painted the call as one of friendly agreement. The two leaders affirmed North Korea must stop “its provocative and escalatory behavior,” the White House said in a statement.
The relationship between the two presidents is “an extremely close one,” the administration added, calling Trump’s upcoming visit to China “a very historic event.”
Their conversation comes as Trump prepares to announce an investigation on Monday into China’s intellectual property practices, according to Politico.
Neither statement mentioned the trade issue.