Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently accomplished a feat that neither of his immediate predecessors was able to do during President Barack Obama’s eight-year administration.
The United States and China have planned to work together to get nuclear-armed North Korea take “a different course,” Tillerson announced Saturday after talks with his Chinese counterpart.
China had reportedly been “irritated” about being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s surging nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to Reuters, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the talks with Tillerson as “candid, pragmatic and productive.”
Tillerson said that both China and the United States had realized that their previous efforts had not succeeded in curbing the nuclear weapons threat posed by North Korea.
“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,” he said.
Tillerson and Wang agreed to work together to persuade North Korea “make a course correction and move away from the development of their nuclear weapons.”
“No matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement,” Wang said, noting that he and Tillerson both hoped to find ways to “restart the talks” between the countries.
Listen to Tillerson’s comments here:
The comments made by both Tillerson and Wang suggested that some progress had been made toward a joint effort on North Korea, which indicated that China had decided to end its resistance to the idea.
However, it remains to be seen if China will commit to stronger policing standards of North Korea — something President Donald Trump will likely demand.
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