Tillerson meets Xi (Photo : Getty Images)
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s China visit ended with a promise of stronger China-U.S. ties. Both countries have agreed to join forces on North Korea, brushing aside other issues.
China has been infuriated with U.S.’s constant call to restrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and the country’s decision to station an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.
Xi and Tillerson had set aside these issues in their meeting in the Great Hall of People. The Chinese President appreciated the Secretary of State’s efforts in attaining a smooth transition in a new era of relations.
"You said that China-U.S. relations can only be friendly. I express my appreciation for this," said Xi.
The Chinese President had telephone conversations and exchange of messages with U.S. President Donald Trump.
"We both believe that China-U.S. cooperation henceforth is the direction we are both striving for. We are both expecting a new era for constructive development," Xi said.
In comments carried by China's Foreign Ministry, Xi said that "the joint interests of China and the United States far outweigh the differences, and cooperation is the only correct choice for us both."
In response, Tillerson said that the U.S. President "looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future."
According to the Secretary of State, Trump puts a "very high value on the communications that have already occurred" between the two presidents.
"We know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthened, strengthening of the ties between China and the United States and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation," Tillerson said.
Trump had previously hit China on a number of issues including trade and the South China Sea. He had further angered China when he spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
Prior’s Tillerson’s coming to Beijing on Saturday, Trump commented on North Korea "behaving very badly." He then accused China of not exerting enough effort to put an end to its neighbor’s weapons program crisis.
In Tillerson’s statement given in Seoul on Friday, he released the Trump’s administration’s most downright warning yet to North Korea. A military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang proceeds to endanger South Korean and U.S. forces.
China and U.S. seem to have made some development with their ties, being able to set aside differences on hard issues. This is a step forward for the anticipated Xi-Trump meeting.
In their meeting, both Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Tillerson have set a more conciliating tone. Tillerson said that cooperation between China and the U.S. can make nuclear-armed North Korea take "a different course."
According to Pyongyang’s official media report on Sunday, North Korea carried out a test of a new high-thrust engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station, with Kim Jong Un saying that the successful test was "a new birth" of its rocket industry.
Disobeying U.N. sanctions, North Korea has performed five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials think that the country is developing nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the U.S.
China says that the country is committed to imposing the U.N. sanctions but all sides have a duty to cut the tensions and return to the negotiating table.
According to Chinese officials, the country does not have influence over North Korea. If China will completely cut off North Korea, the poverty-struck country could collapse and a destabilizing number of refugees would likely enter northeastern China.
Being able to brush off differences on certain issues, Tillerson’s China visit was successful in fortifying China-U.S. ties.