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China warns US not to provoke North Korea

China has said it is “seriously concerned” with North Korea’s insistence on weekly nuclear weapons testing while quietly criticising the US for escalating tensions in the region with its phantom “armada”.

China’s foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang did not directly admonish the US for lying about the course of its naval battle group headed by the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, but warned that such actions might compromise regional peace.

“We have said again and again all parties need to work together to de-escalate the tension instead of being provocative because provocation cannot achieve the goals,” stressed Mr Kang during a press conference on Wednesday.

Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is currently in the Indian Ocean whereas US President Donald Trump said the US was “sending an armada” to the Korean peninsula.

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Sunda Strait in Indonesia on Friday. Source: US Navy/AFP

Mr Kang underlined the situation in the Korean peninsula is highly sensitive, and therefore all involved countries should avoid aggravating the situation.

He also warned if a war starts the situation will go beyond control while he criticised the North Korean regime for its threats to continue the nuclear missile tests every week.

“China is very concerned about this new development,” said Mr Kang and urged all parties to work jointly and take concrete measures to de-escalate the tension.

  • Kim Jong-un was pictured cheering as the video simulation showed a US city being destroyed by a North Korea nuclear missile.

Speaking with the BBC, Mr Kang said China was “unswerving in its commitment to realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, and continue to solve matters through dialogue and negotiations”.

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US says all military options against North Korea are on the table

In the United States meanwhile, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said military options against North Korea must be kept on the table but he does not want to see them used unless they have to.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country’s late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves during a military parade. Source: AP

“Of course we don’t want to have military options employed, but we must keep all options on the table,” he said when asked if the US administration would be willing to drop bombs on North Korea.

In a wide ranging question and answer session Ryan also said he supported tighter sanctions on Iran, that the United States wants to strike a trade deal with Britain as soon as possible, and that he would like to see domestic tax reforms completed by the end of the summer.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan says the US must keep the military option on the table when it comes to North Korea. Photo: AP

France said on Wednesday it was imperative the United Nations Security Council apply more pressure on North Korea to prevent it jumping another hurdle toward an effective nuclear weapons capacity that could lead to a dangerous military escalation.

Amid heightened tension on the Korean peninsula, North Korea has escalated a war of words with the United States, warning of full-out nuclear war if Washington takes military action against it over its nuclear and missile ambitions.

“We have to avoid all military escalation,” Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told LCP television.

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“This threatens nuclear proliferation in the region, but also directly threatens North America. It’s a major danger.”

Mr Ayrault, who was in China last week and whose country has no diplomatic representation in North Korea, said it appeared that Beijing was increasingly worried by the behavior of its neighbor.

“China is scared of chaos and destabilization of the regime that would result in millions of refugees in the region, so we can make progress through international pressure… sanctions and discussions between the Security Council members to take measures,” he said.

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added that America would defeat any attack with an “overwhelming response”.

“There is no time to lose because all of the money North Korea has is being used for nuclear investment and research which would enable the country to jump another hurdle,” he said.