China's Global Times warns North Korea to stop nuclear and missile activities

A view of the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, on Feb 13, 2017.
A view of the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, on Feb 13, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - North Korea should halt any plan for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security", an influential Chinese newspaper said on Wednesday (April 12), warning that the United States is making clear it does not plan to "co-exist" with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

The Korean peninsula has not been so close to a "military clash" since North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, the Global Times said in an editorial.

"Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises,"said the paper run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.

"The US is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests. It doesn't plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang," it said. "Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time."

The Global Times, whose stance does not equate with Chinese government policy, said that Beijing would likely react strongly to any North Korean test.

"If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to see the (UN Security Council) adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North," the paper said.

North Korean state media cautioned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, as a US Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific - a force US President Donald Trump described as an "armada".

Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said in a tweet that North Korea was "looking for trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or without Beijing's help.

Beijing has signed on to UN sanctions against North Korea, but it has repeatedly called for a return to dialogue to resolve the tensions.

A military parade is expected in Pyongyang to mark Saturday's 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding father and grandfather of the current ruler. North Korea often marks important anniversaries with tests of its nuclear or missile capabilities.

US officials have previously stressed that stronger sanctions are the most likely US course to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme, though Washington has said all options - including military ones - are on the table.