(NationalSentinel) North Korea: As the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier battle group steams toward waters off the Korean peninsula this week and the U.S. military moves additional assets to the region in anticipation of a possible preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear weapons infrastructure, Chinese President Xi Jinping wants President Donald J. Trump to move with caution.
During a phone call between the two leaders of the world’s biggest economies on Monday, Xi urged Trump to “exercise caution” in any future decisions regarding Pyongyang. As Reuters notes:
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint on Monday in a telephone call about North Korea with U.S. President Donald Trump, as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.
Trump sent the carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.
China, which has repeatedly called for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, is worried the situation could spin out of control, leading to war and a chaotic collapse of its isolated, impoverished neighbour.
Trump, in his phone call with Xi, criticised North Korea’s “continued belligerence” and emphasised that its actions “are destabilising the Korean peninsula”, the White House said.
“The two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes, and committed to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” it said.
Xi told Trump China resolutely opposed any actions that ran counter to U.N. Security Council resolutions, China’s foreign ministry said.
China “hopes that all relevant sides exercise restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation”, the Chinese ministry said in a statement, paraphrasing Xi.
China is the North’s only major ally, but Beijing has become increasingly frustrated by Pyongyang’s belligerence and continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, which China sees as destabilizing for the region.
Trump is keen to interdict the North’s continuing nuclear weapons development. Reports over the weekend signaled that Pyongyang may be preparing for its sixth test, which – if it takes place – might be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for the U.S. and its allies.
Talks between the U.S., Japan and South Korea about taking part in joint naval exercises is ongoing.