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Macron warns against escalation of tensions over North Korea

French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his concern at the ballistic and nuclear threat coming from North Korea. Michel Euler / POOL / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against an “escalation of tensions” over North Korea amid a growing war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

In a statement, Macron voiced his “concern at the ballistic and nuclear threat coming from North Korea”, saying the international community needed to work to get Pyongyang “resume the path of dialogue without conditions.”

On Wednesday, the French government had praised the “determination” of US President Donald Trump after the latter upped his rhetoric against against North Korea over its weapons programmes.

“The determination of the American president... (is) the same determination as any American president would have because they cannot accept that part of their territory could be the target of ballistic missile attacks,” French government spokesman Christophe Castaner said after a cabinet meeting.

Germany too had urged both sides to show restraint.

“We are watching the increasing rhetorical escalation regarding the Korean Peninsula with the greatest concern,” foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters.

“That is why we call on all sides to use restraint.”

Schaefer said Berlin was convinced a “military option” could not be “the answer in the quest for a nuclear weapon-free" region.

He insisted that while the call for restraint was directed at both Washington and Pyongyang, Germany saw North Korea as the clear “provocateur in this case and the source of our worries.”

On Tuesday, Trump sharply intensified his rhetoric, threatening “fire and fury” over North Korea’s weapons programmes.

North Korea raised the stakes just hours later, saying it was considering missile strikes near US strategic military installations on the Pacific island of Guam.

- with AFP