United States President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

BEIJING—China rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday after he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, a warning that may have undermined the chances of peace but also gave Beijing an easy opportunity to seize the moral high ground.
Beijing has consistently blamed not just Pyongyang but also Washington for what it sees as its hostile policies toward the regime. It argues that U.S. hostility has helped to pushed North Korea’s rulers into a corner and talk of total destruction only reinforces that narrative.
“Trump threatens DPRK with ‘total destruction’, while China calls for peaceful settlement,” the online English-language edition of the People’s Daily newspaper headlined an op-ed, referring to the county’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Trump’s political chest-thumping is unhelpful, and it will only push the DPRK to pursue even riskier policies, because the survival of the regime is at stake,” it wrote.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu …
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