Tillerson Ends China Trip With Warm Words From President Xi

Posted April 01, 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S.is looking forward to the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Tillerson and Xi were meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People at the end of Tillerson's first visit to China after taking office last month.

China, the North's biggest source of diplomatic support and economic assistance, hasn't responded directly to those comments, although Beijing has called repeatedly for all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.

Yi gave warning last week that North Korea and the US-South Korea duo were like "two accelerating trains" headed at each other, with neither side willing to give way.

He said U.S. military action against North Korea is an "option on the table", and warned the country to end its missile and nuclear programmes.

Secretary Tillerson also conveyed that President Trump is anticipating the two will soon be able to meet face-to-face for discussions that will chart the course for future U.S.

On Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the successful test of a high-thrust engine, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, saying the event had "historic significance" that could lead to the "new birth" of the country's indigenous rocket industry.

On Friday, Tillerson signaled a tougher strategy toward North Korea that leaves open the possibility of pre-emptive military action.

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"The policy of strategic patience has ended", Tillerson said during his joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, on Friday.

"It is unreasonable for the United States to accuse China of doing nothing on the DPRK (North Korea)", Wang said.

The US side stands ready for more high-level exchanges, and more dialogue in diplomatic security, macroeconomic policy coordination, law enforcement, cyberspace and people-to-people exchanges.

Relations have also been strained by China's fierce opposition to a United States missile defense system being rolled out in South Korea and Trump's Twitter accusation on Friday that China was not doing enough to control Pyongyang, its neighbour and historic ally. The North conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests a year ago.

Tillerson's visit to Beijing is the final stop on his three-nation swing through Northeast Asia, which began in Japan.

Though it didn't come up in his public remarks, Tillerson was expected to discuss with China its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, including its building of islands atop coral reefs, complete with airstrips and military installations.

Tillerson's use of Beijing's formula may leave the Trump administration open to criticism that either Tillerson bent over too far backwards to placate his Chinese hosts, or he failed to articulate the USA vision of the relationship, perhaps because it has yet to come up with a coherent policy towards China and Asia.

The announcement's timing appeared meant to sour Tillerson's China visit.