CHINA AND U.S. PUT ASIDE PRICKLY ISSUES
Washington, Beijing pledge to tackle Pyongyang; North Korea tests rocket engine
“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
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’.