China warns against escalation of tensions over North Korea
China has warned against any rhetoric and action that could further escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, two days after Pyongyang test-fired its first ever intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“We also call on relevant parties to stay calm, exercise restraint, refrain from words and deeds that may heighten tensions, and jointly make effort for the easing of tensions,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a press conference on Thursday.
North Korea announced on Tuesday that it had successfully tested the ICBM, with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un calling it a gift to the United States on July 4, America’s Independence Day.
Shuang’s comments came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned the launch and described it as a new escalation of the “threat” to Washington, its allies, the region, and the whole world.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley also told the UN Security Council that her country was prepared to exert force if needed to deal with the perceived threat posed by North Korea and singled out China as key to any diplomatic solution.
Meanwhile, Russia accused the US of attempting to negatively affect Moscow’s relations with Pyongyang by leveling false allegations about the purported abuse of North Korean migrant workers in the Russian Federation.
“These allegations are unfounded. They fabricate and publish this nonsense… and then we stand and feel like justifying ourselves after this fake news,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, in a press conference in the Russian capital.
She added that North Korean migrant laborers work in Russia according to an entirely legal 2007 intergovernmental agreement. She also said that the agreement was not in violation of any UN Security Council resolutions regarding Pyongyang.
Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the US has adopted a war-like posture against Pyongyang. The US recently deployed an advanced missile system on South Korean soil to counter potential threats from the North, angering Pyongyang.