WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart pledged in a phone call Saturday to work to denuclearize North Korea, but Trump again spoke of possible “military measures” if other steps fail.
A White House statement said Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron had discussed “the increasingly dangerous situation associated with North Korea’s destabilizing and escalatory behavior.”
It said the United States was ready “along with its allies, to apply the full range of diplomatic, economic and military measures” to end any nuclear threat from the North.
In a statement from the Elysee Palace, Macron expressed his “concern at the ballistic and nuclear threat coming from North Korea”, saying world leaders needed to work to get Pyongyang to “resume the path of dialogue without conditions.”
Macron had joined a chorus of international voices urging restraint in the crisis, which has alarmed the global community as Trump has engaged in days of verbal sparring with Pyongyang.
France and other UN Security Council members want North Korea to “proceed with the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear and ballistic programs,” Macron said in the statement.
The statement came just hours after Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged Trump in a separate phone call to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with Pyongyang.
Xi Jinping, the leader of North Korea’s key ally China, urged Trump on Saturday to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions, after the US leader ramped up his warnings to Pyongyang, saying the Stalinist regime would “truly regret” taking hostile action against the United States.
The Chinese foreign ministry said Xi urged Trump to avoid “words and deeds” that would “exacerbate” the already-tense situation and to exercise restraint and seek a political settlement.
Trump raised alarm around the world — and particularly in Asia — by warning that North Korea would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it were to keep threatening the United States.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un responded by threatening, if attacked, to strike targets in or around Guam in the western Pacific.
That prompted Trump to reassure citizens of the US territory that the American military was prepared to ensure their safety.