China is North Korea’s main economic partner and political backer. Related News

China has urged the United States and North Korea to “hit the brakes” on threatening words and work toward a peaceful resolution of their tense standoff created by Pyongyang’s recent missile tests and threats to fire them toward Guam. The dispute has also raised fears in South Korea, where a conservative political party today called for the United States to bring back tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula.

In a sign of growing concern on the part of Pyongyang’s only major ally, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that the two countries should work together to contain tensions and permit no one to “stir up an incident on their doorstep,” according to a statement posted on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website.

“The most important task at hand is for the US and North Korea to ‘hit the brakes’ on their mutual needling of each other with words and actions, to lower the temperature of the tense situation and prevent the emergence of an ‘August crisis,‘” Wang was quoted as saying in yesterday’s conversation.

The ministry quoted Lavrov as saying tensions could rise again with the US and South Korea set to launch large-scale military exercises on August 21.

“A resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue by military force is completely unacceptable and the peninsula’s nuclear issue must be peacefully resolved by political and diplomatic methods,” Lavrov was quoted as saying.

China is North Korea’s main economic partner and political backer, although relations between Beijing and Pyongyang have deteriorated amid the North’s continuing defiance of China’s calls for restraint.

In recent months, China has joined with Russia in calling for the US to suspend annual military drills with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang halting its missile and nuclear tests as a first step toward direct talks.

Today, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, continued a visit to China following talks the day before with his Chinese counterpart that touched on North Korea

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