President Xi meets US Secretary of State

Cheryl Sanders
March 30, 2017

A spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent talk of tougher sanctions, more pressure, and possible military action, and said the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program.

On Sunday, North Korea confirmed that it had conducted a test of a new "high-thrust" rocket engine which was personally supervised by its leader Kim Jong Un. Four more tests have followed, including two previous year.

Kim "emphasized that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries", KCNA said.

"We should properly handle and manage sensitive issues to promote the healthy and stable development of sino-US relationship from a new start", Xi told Tillerson here.

Mr Tillerson further said: "So we have 20 years of failed approach".

"Both [Trump] and I believe that we need to make joint efforts to advance China-US cooperation and we believe that we can make sure the relationship will move ahead in a constructive fashion in the new era", Xi said. He called on the two countries to enhance strategic mutual trust and enhance understanding.

The Xi-Tillerson meeting comes with delicate negotiations under way for a potential first summit between Xi and US President Donald Trump next month in the United States. In a sign of improving relations between the two countries, the duo agreed to enhance their working relationship on global platforms.

China has proposed double suspension formula under which US and South Korea should stop aggressive military exercises and North Korea should stop nuclear weapons programme, which drew lukewarm response from Washington.

"But it is with a certain sense of urgency that we both feel because of the current situation that we have on the peninsula".

Xi said that since their initial official phone call last month, he and Trump have been in frequent contact, both through conversations and messages, while Tillerson said that the US President places a "very high value on the communications that have already occurred".

At a news conference following their meeting, Tillerson said he reiterated the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program, adding that the two sides promised to cooperate in order for Pyongyang to make better decisions.

For his part, Wang said on Saturday that the Korean peninsula nuclear issue is of interest to everyone.

"For setting up a new tone, it's a good start", said Sun Zhe (孫哲), codirector of the China Initiative of Columbia University's School of worldwide and Public Affairs.

China says it is committed to enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea, but all sides have a responsibility to lessen tensions and get back to the negotiating table.

North Korea is attempting to show it was making progress in developing a long-range inter-continental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, said Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

"The most important principle we have identified is that no matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek a peaceful settlement", Wang said.

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