China urges end to North Korea-US word war

Global Times
Huang Panyue

China warned Tuesday that there are no winners if war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, and a word war will only increase the risk of confrontation, after North Korea and the US engaged in a verbal tit-for-tat.

"We have heard too much noise over the Korean Peninsula and we hope that politicians from both the US and North Korea realize that war is not an option to solve the peninsula problem or address their concerns," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

A word war and antagonism will only increase the risk of confrontation and reduce the room to maneuver policies, Lu said.

"There are no winners once war breaks out on the peninsula and it would lead to a regional disaster," Lu stressed, adding that China strongly opposes an escalating word war between the US and North Korea.

Lu's comments come after US President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that North Korea would not be "around much longer," with North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho saying that it amounted to a declaration of war.

However, the White House denied on Monday that the US has declared war on North Korea.

"We have not declared war on North Korea and, frankly, suggesting that is absurd," White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders told a regular briefing in Washington.

"Though there's no consensus in the US government on how to address the North Korean crisis, war is not an option. To avoid that, Trump must stop his intimidating or threatening tweets or verbal attacks on North Korea's top leader," Lü Chao, an expert on Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Lü added that the tweet from the US president that "almost started a word war" might be intentional.

"On one hand, the rhetoric is a strategy to satisfy those who demand that the government take a harder line against North Korea, on the other hand, Trump might be using words to test North Korea's bottom line," Lü said.

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