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August 21, 2017

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Tone down rhetoric on war, Xi told Trump

BEIJING - The concerned parties should avoid remarks and actions that could escalate tensions on the peninsula, Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump, adding China is ready to work with the United States to appropriately resolve the issue.

The phone call was made hours after Trump issued fresh threats of swift and forceful retaliation against Pyongyang, warning that its leader "will regret it fast" if he takes any action against US territories or allies.

Trump warned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Thursday of "an event the likes of which nobody's seen before", following Pyongyang's disclosure of a plan to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.

Xi stressed that China and the US have common interests in achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there. The concerned parties should strive to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation to reach a political solution, Xi said.

The Chinese president said that Beijing places high value on Trump's state visit to China later this year, urging teams from both sides to make good preparations for the visit.

On the Korean nuclear issue, Trump said the US fully understands China's efforts to resolve it, and is willing to continue to keep close contact with Beijing on major international and regional issues of common concern.

Ruan Zongze, executive vicepresident of the China Institute of International Studies, said the phone call signaled that it is necessary for China and US to cooperate on the denuclearization of the peninsula

"China expressed its position at this crucial moment, showing its role of being a responsible power," Ruan said, adding that China and the US should promote political and peaceful solutions to the nuclear issue.

A military confrontation could escalate if the crisis is not managed properly, he said, adding that the planned military exercise between US and Republic of Korea next week might stimulate the DPRK, which will not ease tensions.

Both Washington and Pyongyang should be restrained rather than provoke each other to escalate tensions and increase the risk of conflict, he said.

On Aug 5, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2371 to impose new sanctions on the DPRK that bans its exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, in response to its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Since 2005, the DPRK has carried out five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.

Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, said in an article in The Wall Street Journal on Friday that "since denuclearization requires sustained cooperation, it cannot be achieved by economic pressure".

"So which parties should negotiate, and over what? An understanding between Washington and Beijing is the essential prerequisite for the denuclearization of Korea," he said in the article.

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