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US, China to Cooperate on ‘Dangerous’ North Korea Situation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, shakes hands with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing Saturday, March 18, 2017. (Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP)

The US and China pledged on Saturday to work together to try to get North Korea’s government to change its current course of pursuing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the situation had reached a “dangerous level.”

The language from Tillerson and his Chinese counterpart after talks in Beijing was notably conciliatory after a run-up in which US President Donald Trump accused China of doing nothing to control its rogue neighbor while Beijing blamed Washington for fueling hostilities.

“I think we share a common view and a sense that tensions in the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level,” Tillerson said after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“We will work together to see if we cannot bring the government in Pyongyang to a place where they want to make a different course, make a course correction, and move away from the development of nuclear weapons.”

The Chinese FM said there had to be a commitment to using diplomatic means to peacefully settle the North Korea issue.

Tillerson arrived in Beijing earlier Saturday after visits to US allies Japan and South Korea where he said the US would no longer observe the “failed” approach of patient diplomacy favored by Beijing and followed by the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that the Sino-American relationship had grown “increasingly difficult and complex” and required “a fresh start”.

“Both countries benefit from the $600 billion trading relationship, but there’s no doubt that the deficit has widened, that there is a strong feeling in the US that it’s out of balance,” he said.

“There are some very tough issues, we have some very significant differences … To keep that relationship stable and on an even keel will be very important for business.”

Paulson made his comments in Beijing at the China Development Forum, a three-day government conference bringing together top global chief executives with Chinese leaders.