Xi, Tillerson acknowledge differences between US, China

21 March, 2017, 05:48 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Xi, Tillerson acknowledge differences between US, China

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 19, 2017.

But Mr Tillerson appeared to be soothing ties with Beijing, telling Mr Xi that "we know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a. strengthening of the ties between China and the United States and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation".

En route to Beijing, Mr Tillerson visited United States allies Japan and South Korea where he declared Washington would drop the "failed" approach of "strategic patience" with Pyongyang - adding that USA military action against the North was possible.

We've heard, in the past, rhetoric from the Trump administration that takes aim at China. "He looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future", Tillerson said.

The US has been trying to pile pressure on China to act against North Korea and China is livid with Washington's move to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missiles in South Korea to counter the missile threat from the North Korea. "China has done little to help!" tweeted Trump in response.

North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program, the North's state media said Sunday. That country has made no effort to hide its intention to develop a ballistic missile capable of reaching the USA mainland with nuclear warheads which it has also been testing. They made vague commitments to work together to press Pyongyang to give up missile and nuclear programs whose development has gained pace in the past four years.

Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown, reporting from Beijing, said Tillerson's meeting with Xi was a courtesy call that only lasted seven minutes. Diplomatic sources told VOA the meeting from April 6-7 will take place at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The US and China still do not see eye-to-eye on multiple issues, including the One China policy - that denies global recognition to Taiwan as an independent state, political freedom in Hong Kong, and the rights of the country's Tibetan minority. The new US administration was walking away from the dialogue-first policy through six-party platform as in the past and will mount greater pressure to force North Korea to surrender its weapons program.

His trip has been dominated by concerns over North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programme.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China's resolute opposition to US arms sales to Taiwan was clear and consistent.

Xi emphasized to Tillerson the need for more coordination on "regional hotspots", according to a statement from China's Foreign Ministry.

Last month, Trump and Xi had a telephone conversation that was described as a warm and cordial.

Trump has so far been an unpredictable partner for China, attacking Beijing on issues ranging from trade to the South China Sea and in December by talking to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I guess the question is, what does this tell us about the relations with China under Mr. Trump?

North Korea is banned by the United Nations from long-range missile tests but claims its satellite programme is for peaceful use.

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