UNITED NATIONS—The Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, responding to fiery statements from the Trump administration on North Korea, blamed the U.S. and North Korea for escalating tensions in the region.
Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a more cautious approach to the North Korea situation, urging dialogue over sanctions or a military solution.
Liu held the press conference at U.N. headquarters on the last day of China’s holding of the presidency of the Security Council, which rotates monthly between members. Egypt takes the presidency on Tuesday.
Liu first offered a summary of the Security Council’s work in July, noting that the Council had met 30 times, adopted four resolutions and issued four presidential statements.
Asked by reporters about recent statements by members of the Trump administration, including a fiery statement by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley saying the U.S. would not seek an emergency session until China decided to act, Liu looked to put the blame on to the U.S.—urging North Korea and “other relevant countries” to avoid upping the rhetoric.
Haley issued a statement Sunday saying there was no point in an emergency session and called on China to agree to increase the pressure on the tyrannical regime: “China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over,”
Liu said it was up to countries like the U.S. and North Korea to tone down the language and come to the negotiating table.
“We have been urging DPRK and indeed other relevant countries not to exacerbate the situation in the Korean peninsula by avoiding language and action that heightens tension on the Korean peninsula because that runs counter to the objectives sought to be achieved through Security Council resolutions,” he said.
Liu also said that resolutions so far did not give the green light for an “economic blockade” and he said the focus instead should be on de-escalating tension and the engagement of North Korea in dialogue, despite North Korea’s apparently complete lack of interest in any de-escalation or dialogue.
He also criticized the threat of unilateral sanctions made by the U.S., saying that they “hinder implementation of international norms set by Security Council resolutions.” He said that China has been working hard to push dialogue and a roadmap in collaboration with Russians.
Liu also pointed to language that said: “all options are on the table” and the deployment of strategic systems into the peninsula as hindering dialogue and denuclearization. He went on to add that there was only so much China could do and that it was up to the U.S. and North Korea to de-escalate the situation:
There are two principal parties … the DPRK and the United States. While people talk about China a lot, if the two principal parties refuse to move towards what is required by Security Council resolutions, the de-escalation of tension, negotiation to achieve denuclearization and peace and stability, and also to resume dialogue then no matter how capable China is, China’s efforts will not yield practical results.
The North Korean crisis has been one of the main focuses of the Trump administration. This month, the rogue regime launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach American cities.
China and Russia have urged further pressure on North Korea, but Russia, in particular, has refused to acknowledge that the missiles were ICBMs.
President Trump weighed in Saturday on Twitter, accusing China of offering “just talk” on North Korea. “We will no longer allow this to continue,” he said. “China could easily solve this problem!”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY