UPDATE : 2017.12.15 FRI 12:24
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Trump, Xi urge N. Korea to stop provocative behavior

The leaders of the United States and China once again called on North Korea on Saturday to stop its provocative actions, which recently have sparked high tensions on the Korean Peninsula, while vowing to cooperate on a peaceful resolution to the North's nuclear issue.

After the phone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the White House said in a statement that the leaders agreed that "North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior."

"The presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," it added, stressing, "The relationship between the two presidents is an extremely close one, and will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem."

China's state media also reported that Chinese President Xi urged Trump to avoid hawkish remarks that could exacerbate already highly running tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The CCTV said Xi called for a peaceful resolution of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and stressed that peace on the Korean Peninsula is the common interest of China and the U.S.

South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said it "acknowledged active efforts" by Washington and Beijing to resolve the tension caused by a series of North Korean provocations.

"Our government will be in close coordination in regards to the two leaders' talk," presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a statement. "We hope the phone conversation between the leaders will help resolve the heightened tension and lead to a breakthrough in solution of the problem."

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump (Yonhap)

The phone conversation came a day after Trump ratcheted up tensions with North Korea, saying the military is "locked and loaded" to deal with the regime's provocations.

The warning is the latest in an exchange of bellicose rhetoric that has heightened concerns about a possible conflict between Washington and Pyongyang.

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely," Trump tweeted. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

The tit-for-tat war of words began this week after Pyongyang threatened to retaliate against Washington for new United Nations sanctions against the regime. The U.S. orchestrated the unanimous adoption of the resolution in response to the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

Trump warned North Korea Tuesday it will be met with "fire and fury" if it continues to threaten his country. North Korea said it would fire ballistic missiles towards Guam, home to some 7,000 American military personnel.

On Thursday, Trump doubled down on his warnings, saying his "fire and fury" remark may not have been tough enough.

And a day later, he told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, that his administration is looking at military options "very carefully."

Kim, the North Korean leader, will "truly regret it and he will regret it fast" if he utters an overt threat at Guam or any territory belonging to the U.S. or its allies, he added. (Yonhap)

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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