US says North Korea must stop ‘provocative’ behavior

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US President Donald Trump walks down the Cross Hall following a Made in America event with US manufacturers in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

The United States demanded that North Korea “must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior” early Saturday after President Donald Trump stepped up his warnings against Pyongyang and spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping by phone.

Meanwhile, US military forces “stand ready” to safeguard Guam after the North threatened to fire ballistic missiles toward the American Pacific island territory, the White House said.

It said Trump “reassured” Guam Governor Eddie Calvo in a phone call that the US military would “ensure the safety and security of the people of Guam, along with the rest of America.”

During their separate call, Trump and Xi also hailed the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution targeting the North as an “important and necessary step toward achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” a White House statement read.

“The presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” it added, stressing the two leaders had an “extremely close relationship” that “will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem.”

“President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior,” the statement read.

It said Trump looks forward to a “very historic” meeting with Xi in China later this year.

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