Following US President Donald Trump's promise to North Korea that he "means what he said" and would not hesitate to attack, Russia and China called on the sides to exercise restraint, with Russia going so far as to praise whoever steps back as just and wise.
On Friday, Trump tweeted, "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"
Later, he said, "I hope they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said, and what I said is what I mean,” he said. “Those words are very, very easy to understand.”
"If North Korea "does anything in respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast," Trump threatened.
Meanwhile, North Korea continued to threaten the US, saying it could "reduce America to a pile of ash" at any moment.
In a phone call on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with Trump about the mutual goal of a nuke-free Korean peninsula.
During the call, Xi requested the US exercise restraint and that it not fan the flames of North Korea's fury.
"At present, the relevant parties must maintain restraint and avoid words and deeds that would exacerbate the tension on the Korean Peninsula," he said.
Russia, too, expressed concern over the tensions in the Korean peninsula, and said they were working to prevent a possible escalation. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the chance of a military conflict was "very high, especially if we take this speech into account: we hear direct threats to use force."
"When it comes close to fighting, the one who is stronger and wiser should be the first to step back from the brink," he added.
"Unfortunately the rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is starting to go off the charts," Lavrov said. "We nonetheless trust that sound reason will prevail. You know our position—we will not accept a nuclear North Korea. Together with China, we have a whole host of suggestions aimed at not allowing a wider conflict there with a large casualty count.”
Under the Chinese-Russian plan, North Korea would freeze its missile tests while the US and South Korea would freeze their large-scale military exercises.
If this double freeze takes place, Lavrov said, the parties can "sit down and start from the very beginning." This would include "signing a paper which will stress respect for the sovereignty of all those parties involved, including North Korea."