China's Xi, Tillerson urge cooperation as North Korea tests rocket engine

Despite a long list of potential pitfalls, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to China, the first by a senior member of the Trump administration, passed off relatively smoothly although there were no tangible gains to show.

US President Donald Trump said Sunday that he'd "had meetings on North Korea", and without mentioning North Korean leader by name said "He is acting very very badly".

Xiao also denied claims that Beijing has been carrying out systematic economic retaliation against South Korean businesses as a result of its opposition to the THAAD missile defense system that the US and South Korea believe is necessary to protect against North Korean missiles. The South Korean military is analyzing exactly what that means to the current status of North Korea's missile program.

Wang said China was willing to communicate and cooperate more with the United States side, enhance trust and handle differences properly, in a bid to promote a healthy and stable development of bilateral ties and benefit the people of both countries and the world at large. "China has done little to help", Trump tweeted. It's not clear when or to whom Tillerson made such a remark.

Even Tillerson said during his confirmation hearing in January that China had offered "empty promises" to pressure North Korea but had failed to do so, and that it had "proven a willingness to act with abandon in the pursuit of its own goals".

China is encouraging the U.S.to maintain a "cool head" toward North Korea.

Tillerson was also in Beijing to iron out the details of a tentative summit between Presidents Trump and Xi in Florida in April.

The North conducted two nuclear tests previous year alone and didn't respect multiple resolutions or sanctions, as it continued to carry out provocations, including the launch of four ballistic missiles on March 6.

At a press conference on Saturday with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson noted that the USA would continue to raise thorny issues with China, including maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as well as human rights and religious freedoms.

China has agreed reluctantly to UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea, but is adamantly opposed to measures that might bring about a collapse of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime.

Washington wants China, the North's neighbour and main trading partner, to use its influence to rein in the weapons programmes.

In contrast to a long line of predecessors, Tillerson refused to allow the traditional contingent of reporters to travel with him, making it more hard to glean his impressions of the talks.

China's dissatisfaction towards North Korea continues to grow with each missile or nuclear test that Pyongyang carries out, in defiance of Beijing's warnings.

In a departure from past practice, Tillerson skipped the launch of an annual report on human rights last week that cited numerous abuses by China.

"And he looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future", Tillerson said.

China took an initial step last month to squeeze North Korea by temporarily suspending coal imports from the country.

"For setting up a new tone, it's a good start", said Sun Zhe, the co-director of the China Initiative of Columbia University's School of global and Public Affairs.

The U.S.is prohibited from providing anything other than humanitarian assistance to North Korea.

"The United States provided $1.35 billion dollars in assistance to North Korea as an encouragement to take a different pathway".

Tillerson, while in Seoul earlier, rejected the idea of negotiations with North Korea.

China, however, has accused Washington of escalating tensions by holding military exercises with its ally Seoul and deploying an anti-missile system in South Korea. Bringing North Korea "to a different place" is a matter to be approached with "a sense of urgency", Tillerson said.

  • Leroy Wright