Chinese officials urged the Trump administration on Friday to halt its threats of military action against North Korea and rejected the notion, pushed by the president in recent weeks, that China is responsible for helping to resolve escalating tensions with military threats of its own.
"[The US] should refrain from issuing more threats," said Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. "They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation. Honestly, I think the United States should be doing…much more than now, so that there's real effective international cooperation on this issue."
Ciu's remarks came after a press conference given by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, who warned that the U.S. could resort to a military option following North Korea's latest missile test over Japan.
Haley and McMaster insisted military action is "not what we prefer to do," but a White House spokesperson repeated the administration's position that diplomacy is not an option, saying on Friday that "now is not the time to talk to North Korea."
The U.S. announced its latest round of harsh sanctions on the isolated nation this week, affecting oil, gas, and other exports to North Korea. Kim Jong-un said Saturday that the sanctions will not stop him from continuing to develop the country's nuclear program in the hopes of achieving "the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about a military option."
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While President Donald Trump has said in recent weeks that China should do more to stop North Korea from continuing its military tests, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry joined Cui in urging the U.S. to take responsibility for its current tensions with the Kim regime.
"China is not to blame for the escalation of tensions," said the spokesperson. "China does not hold the key to resolving the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, either. Those who tied the knots are responsible for untying [them]."
Trump responded to North Korea's testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month by spontaneously threatening to respond to more testing with "fire and fury," alarming the international community and contributing to the growing discord between the two nations.
Along with China, a number of international leaders have called for diplomacy as a means to put an end to North Korea's nuclear development.
Polls also show that most Americans disapprove of the president's bellicose approach to the North Korean regime, and fear U.S. military strikes against the country.