China, New Zealand urge Trump not to ‘escalate’ a ‘very tense’ situation

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China responded to President Donald Trump’s apocalyptic “fire and fury” threat against North Korea by pointedly warning on Wednesday against any rhetoric that could inflame tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programmes.

Calling the situation on the Korean Peninsula “complicated and sensitive”, China’s foreign ministry issued a statement warning that parties involved in the impasse should avoid “words and actions that escalate the situation”.

The ministry had been asked to respond to Trump’s comment on Tuesday that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it did not refrain from further bellicose threats against the US.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English echoed China, saying that Trump’s comments about North Korea are “not helpful” in an environment that is “very tense.” He further said that the US president’s comments are more likely to escalate the situation than to settle it.

The New Zealand PM claimed that all countries want to avoid military confrontation and the way for that to happen is for North Korea to comply with United Nations (UN) sanctions and for international pressure to push the nation in that direction.

English told reporters on Wednesday at the nation’s Parliament in Wellington that New Zealand has not raised concerns with the US administration about Trump’s remarks, but would if his tone continued.