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US-North Korea Tension: Beijing Tries Balancing Act

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US-North Korea Tension: Beijing Tries Balancing Act

"Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!".

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was on the receiving end of the alliteration heard around the world, when Trump promised "fire and fury" if Pyongyang continued to threaten the United States.

Trump has also said that any threats from North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The phone conversations came a day after Trump ratcheted up tensions with North Korea, saying the military is "locked and loaded" to deal with the regime's provocations. North Korea has not actually threatened to nuke Guam, but has instead threatened to land ballistic missiles - ones that it says could carry a nuclear payload - off the coast of the U.S. territory as a demonstration of its retaliatory capabilities. Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo says he coordinates with Homeland Security and the U.S. military on preparedness procedures. The contrast between Eastern and Western influence is as stark at the 38th Parallel as it was at the Berlin Wall, and countries pursuing their own interests will have no trouble choosing sides. It's a strange kind of respect it has earned, to be sure. If the US or its allies moved to launch a first strike, China would take steps to "prevent them from doing so". He went on, apparently gleeful about the crisis at hand: "Woe betide anyone who militarily challenges the United States".

I'm not going to trash the president though.

President Trump - who has spent the past week issuing blustery threats at North Korea and insisting the U.S. is "locked and loaded" and that he's ready to launch a preemptive strike on the country should peace negotiations fail - seems to have also tried some basic diplomacy on Friday in calls with the president of China and the governor of Guam.

The other laureates who signed the letter are: South African anti-apartheid and human rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Polish President Lech Walesa, former South African President F.W. De Klerk and India's anti-slavery leader Kailash Satyarthi.

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Trump assured Calvo the U.S.is "with you a thousand percent".

The war of words has given China the chance to project itself as the voice of reason and restraint while others lose their heads. He said in a statement, "Men and women from state and local agencies will be in Charlottesville [on Saturday] to keep the public safe, and their job will be made easier if Virginians, no matter how well-meaning, elect to stay away from the areas where this rally will take place". On Thursday, Beijing issued a chilling warning to both sides by way of the editorial pages of the Global Times, a loudhailer for Chinese diplomacy.

And finally, North Korea is a measure of China's readiness to lead. Immediate risks include the danger of massive refugee flows from a decapitated North Korea and the possibility of a reunified Korea shaped by the capitalist South. Many commentators are calling these risks "intolerable", but what they're missing is the greater risk to China's long-term ambitions posed by a failure to pacify its rogue neighbor.

New United Nations sanctions condemning the North's rapidly developing nuclear program drew fresh ire and threats from Pyongyang.

On Friday, the Trump chundering still hadn't stopped.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday warned against an "escalation of tensions" over North Korea amid a growing war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. "Nuclear weapons are designed to never be used and both sides understand that". Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button.

President Trump discussed North Korea's nuclear threat with China's President Xi Jinping late on Friday night, according to the White House. "Imagine countless skyscrapers and tall buildings collapsing to the earth, millions of people fleeing to mass transit and clogging all exits out of one of the world's largest cities". The U.S. orchestrated the unanimous adoption of the resolution in response to the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

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