China to U.S.: Keep it cool

Bei­jing is urg­ing use of di­a­logue when deal­ing with N. Korea

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Si­mon Denyer

bei­jing» China urged the United States to re­main “cool­headed” over North Korea and not to turn its back on di­a­logue, as vis­it­ing Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son ex­pressed a “sense of ur­gency” to curb dan­ger­ous lev­els of ten­sion on the Korean Penin­sula.

While on his first trip to Asia, Tiller­son had ear­lier de­clared that diplo­macy has failed to per­suade North Korea to aban­don its nu­clear pro­gram, and that a new ap­proach was needed. Fri­day in Seoul, South Korea, he warned omi­nously that all op­tions were on the ta­ble to counter the threat from Py­ongyang.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump weighed in Fri­day by goad­ing China over Twit­ter for not do­ing enough to help pre­vent its ally from “be­hav­ing very badly.”

But in a joint news con­fer­ence Satur­day with his Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Tiller­son struck a more diplo­matic note, choos­ing to play down dif­fer­ences with Bei­jing and stress that both coun­tries share the goal of a de­nu­cle­arized Korean Penin­sula.

“We share a com­mon view and a sense that ten­sions on the penin­sula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dan­ger­ous level, and we’ve com­mit­ted our­selves to do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to pre­vent any type of con­flict from break­ing out,” Tiller­son said.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi agreed, but also had some ad­vice for his Amer­i­can coun­ter­part.

“No mat­ter what hap­pens, we have to stay com­mit­ted to diplo­matic means as a way to seek peace­ful set­tle­ment,” he said. “We hope all par­ties, in­clud­ing our friends from the United States, could size up the sit­u­a­tion in a cool­headed and com­pre­hen­sive fash­ion, and ar­rive at a wise de­ci­sion,” he said.

In Fe­bru­ary, China sus­pended coal im­ports from North Korea for the rest of the year, a move that cuts off the regime’s ma­jor fi­nan­cial life­line. Wang pledged to main­tain U.N. sanc­tions on North Korea but said Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions had also in­cluded “clear pro­vi­sions for ef­forts to re­sume talks to deesca­late the ten­sion and to safe­guard sta­bil­ity on the penin­sula.”

North Korea has amassed a siz­able nu­clear stock­pile and ap­pears at the brink of be­ing able to strike the U.S. main­land and Amer­i­can al­lies in Asia. The sit­u­a­tion has emerged as a ma­jor, early for­eign-pol­icy test for the new Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Tiller­son said both China and the United States felt “a cer­tain sense of ur­gency” in try­ing to per­suade Py­ongyang to “make a course cor­rec­tion” and aban­don its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

In Seoul on Fri­day, Tiller­son said the ad­min­is­tra­tion was ex­plor­ing an ar­ray of diplo­matic, eco­nomic and se­cu­rity mea­sures to put more pres­sure on North Korea, in­clud­ing tighter sanc­tions, and that while a mil­i­tary re­sponse was pos­si­ble if the threat from Py­ongyang’s mis­sile pro­gram grew, “we have many, many steps we can take be­fore we get to that point.”

Pre­vi­ous ef­forts to of­fer car­rot-and-stick diplo­macy to North Korea have failed.

MON – SAT 10a – 7p, SUN 11a – 5p

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