PYONGYANG, North Korea >> A ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper is warning North Korea against conducting another nuclear test, saying that would likely propel events past the “point of no return.”
In an editorial Tuesday, the Global Times says the previous day’s phone conversation between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China showed the two countries were in close communication over the tensions.
It says China hopes for a peaceful outcome, but that Beijing has “very limited influence on the entire situation.”
It says: “The game of chicken between Washington and Pyongyang has come to a breaking point.” The paper is known for its often stridently nationalistic views.
It says if North Korea carries out a sixth nuclear test as expected, “it is more likely than ever that the situation will cross the point of no return. All stakeholders will bear the consequences, with Pyongyang sure to suffer the greatest losses.”
As a traditional ally and North Korea’s chief source of trade, food and fuel aid, China has come under intense pressure to use its influence to dissuade Pyongyang from additional nuclear tests and missile launches.
However, Beijing is intensely wary of any measures that might cause the collapse of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s hard-line communist regime, fearing that could lead to a wave of refugees and a Pyongyang government beholden to Washington and Seoul.
Meanwhile, U.S. envoy for North Korea Joseph Yun says he and his counterparts from Japan and South Korea agreed to coordinate “all actions” on North Korea.
The three envoys also agreed that China has a key role in pressuring North Korea to abandon its missile and nuclear programs.
Yun told reporters after a meeting in Tokyo that all diplomatic, military and economic actions on North Korea will be coordinated among the allies.
Yun says China especially has “a very, very important role” to play. He says U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions on Pyongyang must be fully implemented.
He says: “There are a number of countries who could be more proactive” in implementing the sanctions. He did not identify the countries.