BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping urged President Trump to exercise restraint over tensions with North Korea during a phone call Friday night, Chinese state media reported.

After a week of threats and counterthreats between Washington and Pyongyang, Xi urged both sides not to do anything that would aggravate tensions, China’s CGTN state television network reported.

But North Korea continued to fuel tension Saturday, with the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reporting that almost 3.5 million people, including students and retired soldiers, have asked to join or re-join the North Korean military to fight against the United States over the latest sanctions it encouraged through the U.N. Security Council.

“All the people are rising up across the country to retaliate against the U.S. thousands of times,” said the newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party. The report was almost certainly bluster rather than fact, but it showed that the North Korean regime is not backing down in the face of Trump’s threats.

Meanwhile, Japan finished installing surface-to-air missile interceptors in the western prefectures that North Korea said would be in the flight path of any missiles launched toward Guam, where North Korea is threatening an “enveloping strike.”

In South Korea, the government began the environmental survey needed to complete the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system – a sign that the liberal government is now trying to expedite the deployment.

In his phone call with Trump, Xi said China hoped the parties concerned would exercise restraint and refrain from taking any action that will aggravate tensions on the peninsula, according to CGTN. Dialogue, negotiations and a political settlement are the fundamental ways of solving the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue, Xi said during the call, which took place Saturday Beijing time.

“The Chinese leader expressed Beijing’s willingness to maintain communication with the U.S. to appropriately resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue,” the network reported.

Trump, who is scheduled to visit China later this year, on Tuesday threatened to respond to further threats from North Korea by unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Pyongyang in turn said it could strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific with ballistic missiles. In his latest salvos in the war of words, Trump said Friday that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and that North Korea would “truly regret it” if it attacked Guam.

China has viewed the rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang with some alarm, and has repeatedly urged dialogue to lower tensions. Although China supported stiffer United Nations sanctions last weekend after repeated North Korean missile tests, Chinese officials also want a restart of six-party talks, which stalled in 2009. Those talks would involve North and South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

The war of words has given China the chance to project itself as the voice of reason and restraint while others lose their heads. It argues that Washington’s long-standing belligerence toward North Korea helps explain why the regime has chosen to develop a nuclear weapons program – dodging its own responsibility for propping up Pyongyang. government.