Sat Mar 18, 2017, 11:09 AM
Troll2 (11,215 posts)
US, China soften the rhetoric, say to work together on North Korea
The United States and China will work together to get nuclear-armed North Korea take “a different course”, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday, softening previous criticism of Beijing after talks with his Chinese counterpart.
China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, one of a series of hurdles in ties between the world’s two largest economies.
But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the talks with Tillerson as “candid, pragmatic and productive.” The two sides appeared to have made some progress or put aside differences on difficult issues, at least in advance of a planned summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.
On Friday, Tillerson issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and US forces.
Tillerson took a softer line after the meeting with Wang. He told reporters both China and the United States noted efforts over the last two decades had not succeeded in curbing the threat posed by North Korea’s weapons programs.
“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.
He said Wang and he agreed to work together to persuade North Korea to “make a course correction and move away from the development of their nuclear weapons.”
Wang said UN resolutions on North Korea both mapped out sanctions and called for efforts to resume efforts for a negotiated settlement.
“No matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement,” he said. Wang said he and Tillerson “both hope to find ways to restart the talks”.
“Neither of us are ready to give up the hope for peace,” he said.
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