CHINA AND U.S. PUT ASIDE PRICKLY IS­SUES

Wash­ing­ton, Bei­jing pledge to tackle Py­ongyang; North Ko­rea tests rocket en­gine

New Straits Times - - World -

BEI­JING

“We both be­lieve that China-US co­op­er­a­tion hence­forth is the di­rec­tion we are both striv­ing for.

“We are both ex­pect­ing a new era for con­struc­tive devel­op­ment.

“The joint in­ter­ests of China and the US far out­weigh the dif­fer­ences, and co­op­er­a­tion is the only cor­rect choice for us both,” Xi added, in com­ments car­ried by China’s For­eign Min­istry.

China and the US must strengthen co­or­di­na­tion of hot re­gional is­sues, re­spect each other’s core in­ter­ests and ma­jor con­cerns, and pro­tect the broad sta­bil­ity of ties, Xi said.

Tillerson replied that Trump was look­ing for­ward to en­hanc­ing un­der­stand­ing with China and the op­por­tu­nity for a visit in the fu­ture.

He said Trump placed a “very high value on the com­mu­ni­ca­tions that have al­ready oc­curred” be­tween Xi and Trump.

“And he looks for­ward to boost­ing that un­der­stand­ing in the op­por­tu­nity for a visit in the fu­ture,” Tillerson said.

“We know that through fur­ther di­a­logue we will achieve a greater un­der­stand­ing that will lead to a strength­ened, strength­en­ing of the ties be­tween China and the US and set the tone for our fu­ture re­la­tion­ship of co­op­er­a­tion.”

Trump has been an un­pre­dictable part­ner for China, at­tack­ing Bei­jing on is­sues rang­ing from trade to the South China Sea and in De­cem­ber by talk­ing to Tai­wanese Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing­wen.

Be­fore Tillerson ar­rived here on Satur­day, Trump said North Ko­rea was “be­hav­ing very badly” and ac­cused China of do­ing lit­tle to re­solve the cri­sis over the North’s weapons pro­grammes.

Speak­ing in on Fri­day, Tillerson is­sued the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s stark­est warning yet to North Ko­rea, say­ing that a mil­i­tary re­sponse would be “on the ta­ble” if Py­ongyang took ac­tion to threaten South Korean and US forces.

Still, China and the US ap­peared to have made some progress or put aside dif­fer­ences on dif­fi­cult is­sues, at least in ad­vance of a planned sum­mit be­tween Xi and Trump.

Tillerson and Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi struck a more con­cil­ia­tory tone in their meet­ing, with Tillerson say­ing the US and China would work to get nu­clear-armed North Ko­rea take “a dif­fer­ent course.”

Un­der­scor­ing the ten­sions, North Ko­rea con­ducted a test of a new high-thrust en­gine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch sta­tion and leader Kim Jong-un said the suc­cess­ful test was “a new birth” of its rocket in­dus­try, Py­ongyang’s of­fi­cial me­dia said yes­ter­day.

The test was ap­par­ently timed to co­in­cide with Tillerson’s visit to China. Agen­cies

AP PIC

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping with US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing yes­ter­day. Tillerson told Xi that ‘China-US re­la­tions can only be friendly’.

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