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China's Xi Jinping calls Donald Trump, urges peaceful North Korea resolution

Chinese leader Xi Jinping says US President Donald Trump should exercise restraint in the North Korea crisis. Trump said Friday the US military was "locked and loaded," as Pyongyang accused him of war mongering.

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping

In a telephone call to Donald Trump on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged a peaceful resolution to the ongoing North Korea crisis.

Xi told Trump that it was in the interest of both China and the US to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and ensure peace and stability in the region.

"The relevant side must at present exercise restraint, and avoid words and actions that exacerbate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," Chinese state TV paraphrased Xi as saying.

Read: What is China's role in the North Korean crisis?

Trump issued another stern warning to North Korea's communist regime on Friday, saying the US military was "locked and loaded" if Pyongyang chose to target US facilities or its allies in the region.

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded should North Korea act unwisely," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un [North Korean leader] will find another path," he added.

Referring to Kim again, Trump said, "If he utters one threat … or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place that's an American territory or an American ally, he will fully regret it, and he will regret it fast."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday condemned the escalating rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington, saying that Berlin believed the conflict could not be solved by military means.

"Germany will very intensively take part in the options for resolution that are not military but I consider a verbal escalation to be the wrong response," Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

Trump brushed aside Merkel's criticism of the increasing tension between the United States and North Korea, saying she did not speak for his country.

Japan readies Patriot defense system

Japan on Saturday started deploying its missile defense system after North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Read: Guam - what you need to know

The defense ministry said Saturday the military was putting in place the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system in Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi n western Japan, which could be along a potential North Korean missile path.

Read: Nations start to choose sides in event of North Korea war

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief government spokesman, said earlier this week that Tokyo "can never tolerate" provocations from the North and Japanese military would "take necessary measures" to deal with the situation.

North Korean military officials said Thursday that plans to launch missiles towards the US island territory of Guam would be ready by mid-August. Afterwards, they will be presented to the country's leader Kim Jong Un.

The plans called for four intermediate-range missiles to fly over Japan and land in the sea 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam, according to the North Korean report.

Earlier this week, Trump warned that the US would bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it provoked the US again, which was followed by North Korea's Guam threat.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula ramped up after Pyongyang carried out two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches last month.

The tests prompted the United Nations Security Council to unanimously pass its seventh round of UN sanctions that could cost North Korea $1 billion (849 million euro) per year.

- Does the US have to accept North Korea as a nuclear power?

shs/ng  (AFP, Reuters)

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