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US, France agree to work on NoKor

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart pledged Saturday to work to denuclearize North Korea, but Trump again invoked the grim possibility of “military measures” if other steps should fail.

Trump’s latest warning came amid a flurry of international calls – from China, the North’s key ally, as well as Russia, Germany, Britain, and the United Nations – for the President to show greater rhetorical restraint.

A White House statement said Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking by phone, had discussed “the increasingly dangerous situation associated with North Korea’s destabilizing and escalatory behavior.”

It added that the United States and allies were ready “to apply the full range of diplomatic, economic, and military measures” to end any threat.

But Macron, while expressing “concern at the ballistic and nuclear threat” from North Korea, said world leaders needed to get Pyongyang to “resume the path of dialogue without conditions,” joining the international voices urging caution.

Trump’s call with Macron came hours after Chinese leader Xi Jinping had urged the American President in a separate phone call to avoid inflammatory rhetoric toward Pyongyang.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Xi urged Trump to avoid “words and deeds” that would “exacerbate” the already tense situation and to 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. (AFP)