BEIJING (AP) — Warning there would be "no winner" in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, China on Tuesday urged North Korea and the United States to stop their escalating war of words and sit down for talks on cooling the recent spike in tensions.
The comments from foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang reinforce China's position that all sides should avoid provoking each other following biting new United Nations economic sanctions on North Korea and a new exchange of threats between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"A war on the Korean Peninsula will have no winner, which will also be a tragedy for regional countries," Lu told reporters at a daily briefing. "Given our consistent opposition to the war and chaos on the peninsula, we totally disapprove of an escalation of the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea."
Lu's remarks came after North Korea's top diplomat on Monday characterized Trump's tweet that Kim "won't be around much longer" as a declaration of war against his country by the United States.
However, Lu noted that the Trump administration denied that it had declared war on North Korea and said the U.S. remained committed to eliminating nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means.
China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's foreign trade and is under constant pressure from the U.S. and others to tighten the screws on its neighbor and former close Communist ally.
Beijing has responded by voting in favor of increasingly harsh U.N. resolutions over North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs and announced Saturday that it will limit energy supplies to North Korea and stop buying its textiles as dictated by the latest sanctions.