Wed Aug 9, 2017 2:17PM
People walk past a television screen showing US President Donald Trump at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, August 9, 2017. (AFP photo)
People walk past a television screen showing US President Donald Trump at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, August 9, 2017. (AFP photo)

China has warned parties to the dispute on North Korea’s weapons program that any escalation in rhetoric could further complicate the situation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday, warning that parties to the "complicated and sensitive" dispute on the Korean peninsula should avoid "words and actions” that escalate the situation.

The warning came after US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if threats of military attacks against the United States continue from Pyongyang.

North Korea had said it was pondering a missile strike near the US territory of Guam. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a military statement as saying on Tuesday that once leader Kim Jong-un made a decision, North Korea could implement its plan for attacking Guam.

Pedestrians walk past a huge screen in Tokyo, Japan, on August 9, 2017, displaying news footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (AFP photo)

Tensions over North Korea escalated in earlier July, when the island nation successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which experts said was pointedly intended to boast Pyongyang’s ability to target the mainland US.

North Korea tested a second ICBM in late July and the media in the United States said on Tuesday that North Korea might have successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit it onto its missiles, further ringing alarm bells in the US that Pyongyang may decide to physically respond to crippling sanctions imposed on the county under the leadership of the United States.

China is still deemed by the US as North Korea’s main ally and American officials continue to accuse Beijing of not piling enough pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. China has denied it could play such a role in containing North Korea while calling on the US and allies in the region to seek a diplomatic solution to the dispute.