China 'will not accept North Korea as nuclear weapons state', ambassador warns

China has warned that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, Beijing’s ambassador to the US warned, just hours after Kim Jong-un said his country was on course to achieve that “final goal”.

Speaking at a Chinese embassy event in Washington DC, Cui Tiankai also called on Donald Trump’s administration to stop sabre-rattling against the secretive communist state.

Instead the US should “resume dialogue and negotiation” over the stand-off, he said.

Honestly, I think the United States should be doing much more than now, so that there’s real effective international cooperation on this issue,” he told reporters.

“They should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation,” he said, while adding that China would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

His comments came within days of North Korea firing another ballistic missile over Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean.

It came despite threats by US President Donald Trump that the communist state would feel the “fire and fury” of his armed forces unless it halted its nuclear weapons programme.

Pyongyang shrugged off the rhetoric and launched another deadly Hwasong-12 in its goal to become a nuclear power and reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the US.

Mr Trump described the move as an act of “utter contempt for its neighbours and the entire world” and warned any US response would be “effective and overwhelming”.

North Korea on Friday launched its latest ballistic missile – which travelled past Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before landing in the sea.

Its leader Kim Jong-un, who was quoted by the state news agency KCNA, later said: “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option.”

In response, President Trump warned that American military options were robust should they be required to respond to threats from Pyongyang.

Speaking at Joint Base Andrews, the Air Force installation outside Washington, Mr Trump said: “America and our allies will never be intimidated. We will defend our people, our nations, and our civilization, from all who dare to threaten our way of life.

“This includes the regime of North Korea, which has once again shown its utter contempt for its neighbours, and the entire world community.”