22:24 GMT +317 November 2017
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    The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the South China Sea while conducting flight operations on April 9, 2017.

    China Calls on US, North Korea to Stop ‘Reckless Provocation’

    © REUTERS/ Z.A. Landers/Courtesy U.S. Navy
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    After North Korea threatened the US by saying their war games over the Korean Peninsula brought the region closer to the “brink of nuclear war,” Beijing advocated for all sides to “lower the temperature” in both their rhetoric and frequent displays of military prowess.

    “Stop irritating each other,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the US flew B-1B strategic bombers right over the Korean mainland, which was condemned by Pyongyang as a “reckless provocation.” Meanwhile, in Washington, US President Donald Trump said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jung-un. 

    If North Korea fails to heed diplomatic calls from China, the results could be dire. North Korea maintains that the nuclear program is needed for the county’s very “existence and development.” If the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea follows through with a sixth nuclear test, the Korea Times reported, Beijing will sever economic ties, condemn its former ally and even blockade Pyongyang’s trading ports. 

    According to Chinese users of Weibo, a popular social media platform essentially synthesizing Facebook and Twitter, a memo has circulated in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which the DPRK was provided notice of punitive measures that would ensue following another nuclear weapons test. 

    Rumor has it that Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi requested one of his officers to read out a warning to DPRK official Park Myung-ho. During the exchange, the DPRK diplomat was told about the harsh steps that would be taken.

    The DPRK previously balked when Beijing ceased importing North Korean coal in compliance with United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The decision to end the energy imports was made in February, but according to 38 North, a North Korean research blog, China managed to send about $219 million for its coal in the first two months of 2017, according to Chinese customs data. 

    Beijing has not denied the substance of the story circulating on Weibo. 

    “North Korea is completely surrounded by enemies now,” one social media user commented.

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    Tags:
    tensions, Wang Yi, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Korean Peninsula
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