France's Macron speaks to Trump, warns over N. Korea escalation

China isolated North Korea’s main trading partner has been reluctant to push leader Kim Jong-un’s regime too hard for fear it might collapse

China isolated North Korea’s main trading partner has been reluctant to push leader Kim Jong-un’s regime too hard for fear it might collapse

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 US. "Rather than let that take effect and squeeze the North Koreans and get them back from the brink, we're escalating it and using language that President Kim uses in North Korea".

United States president Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone on Saturday and agreed to work together on a crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

And that doesn't mean talk hasn't been tough - the US has been speaking forcefully to North Korea all this time, said Ellen Tauscher, former USA under secretary of state for arms control and global security under President Barack Obama.

The warm words exchanged between Xi and Trump Friday night in the USA masked underlying tensions between Beijing and Washington over how to deal with the errant regime in Pyongyang.

On Friday, the Defense Ministry said it was deploying four of Japan's surface-to-air Patriot interceptors in western Japan to respond to a possible risk of fragments falling from missiles.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the military is ready to counter the threat from North Korea, but also said the effort is being "diplomatically led".

Actor Kal Penn has pointed out the president of the United States' posts fit the bill.

Terence Roehrig, a national security affairs professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, said Trump's posture suggested he was trying to dissuade Kim from further provocations rather than setting the stage for a U.S. military strike.

Trump's "firm break with 20-plus years of failed American policy on North Korea represents the one chance we might have to forestall a massive conflict on the Korean peninsula", said Jaffer in an email.

President Donald Trump is seeking continued help from China's president in addressing the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear developments.

Professor Lucas said: "The Chinese and the U.S. have been talking behind the scenes for months about what to do".

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