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China tries to woo South Korea to become world’s link to North Korea’s nuclear programme

With fears a North Korea conflict might provoke World War 3, the Chinese have been urged to take action against their sabre-rattling ally.

And premier Li Keying announced today stalled bilateral projects with the South would now resume.

It has fuelled hopes China could act as a bridge between both sides of the divided Korean peninsula and avert a potentially catastrophic conflict.

For nearly a year, China-South Korea relations have been tense with Beijing angry about the deployment of the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in Korea. 

China claims THAAD’s powerful radar can penetrate deep into its territory.

President Xi Jinping said this week he wanted to now wanted to put the row behind them.

But he again claimed the Korean crisis could only be resolved through diplomacy, amid claims the world is “sleepwalking” into war.

Xi told visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in the goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula must be stuck to, and war and chaos could not be allowed.

He said: “The peninsula issue must, in the end, be resolved via dialogue and consultation.”

China and South Korea have an important shared interest in maintaining peace, and Beijing was willing to work with Seoul to promote talks and support North and South to improve relations, he said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the pair agreed war on the peninsula would not be tolerated and they would cooperate in applying sanctions and pressure.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he expects a Security Council meeting today to deliver a strong expression of unity over the crisis.

He warned: “The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war.”

But North Korea has again accused Donald Trump of escalating the crisis, with tensions between the countries showing no sign of easing.

Pyongyang warned the US President was taking a big step towards nuclear war in seeking a naval blockade.

And the hermit state warned it would take “merciless self-defence” measures if the US tried to impose one.

North Korea would regard a naval blockade as “an act of war” and a “wanton violation” of its sovereignty and dignity, state media reported.

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