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China beseeches the US: Please, 'cool it' with the North Korea threats

  • China is urging the U.S. and North Korea to exercise restraint as threats continue
  • Chinese state media warned of the risk of misjudgment, urging dialogue

China has one message for the United States, and it's willing to repeat it constantly in its media outlets: Calm down with the threats of violence against North Korea.

Late on Tuesday, the U.S. military flew two Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force amid high tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The move came after President Donald Trump's thinly veiled threat on Saturday of a possible armed confrontation with North Korea.

China got right back to work after a week-long public holiday, urging the two parties to "cool it," in an editorial published Tuesday in state mouthpiece People's Daily.

"War on the Korean Peninsula would be catastrophic, and dialogue remains the best option," the Communist Party-owned newspaper said.

"His threats seem to be part of a larger strategy, coherent or not, to instill fear in Pyongyang, so that it will agree to U.S. demands to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs," the paper added.

Although it acknowledged "there is logic behind Trump's threats" against North Korea, the Communist paper concluded that the strategy "could backfire bigly."

The editorial came a day after foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged for calm in a press conference.

"The current situation on the Korean Peninsula remains highly complex and severe. We hope that various parties can strictly observe and implement the UN Security Council resolutions, refrain from provoking each other and aggravating the contradiction, exercise restraint and caution to ease the tension," Hua said.

The nationalistic Global Times also weighed in, warning of a "fatal misjudgment" in an "extreme atmosphere."

"Washington and Pyongyang have been intensifying hostile and threatening rhetoric against each other for some time. Their frequent saber-rattling, unimaginable in the past, is escalating tensions in Northeast Asia," the paper said in an editorial on Tuesday.

It also proffered a suggestion to break the stalemate.

"The U.S. won't accept North Korea as a nuclear state, a stance shared by the international community. For North Korea, security is the top concern, which should be acknowledged by the U.S. The two sides can start seeking a breakthrough by Pyongyang giving up nuclear weapons for security," it said.

China's calls for calm on the Korean Peninsula come amid a wider push for stability ahead of a pivotal Chinese Communist Party Congress that starts on Oct. 18.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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