China has failed to use its influence to stop North Korea's warlike rhetoric against the United States and US-backed South Korea, despite an escalating crisis that could trigger armed conflict by accident, U.S. lawmakers said on Sunday.
Republican Senator John McCain, a member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized China's "failure to rein in what could be a catastrophic situation," saying Beijing could step up pressure on Pyongyang by using its influence over North Korea's economy.
"China does hold the key to this problem. China could cut off their economy if they want to. Chinese behavior has been very disappointing," McCain said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program.
"More than once, wars have started by accident and this is a very serious situation," he added.
"South Korea would win. We would win if there was an all-out conflict. But the fact is that North Korea could set Seoul on fire. And that obviously would be a catastrophe of enormous proportions," McCain said.