US, China to work to prevent Korean peninsula conflict: Tillerson

Beijing, March 18 (IANS) The US and China agreed on Saturday that tension on the Korean peninsula has reached dangerous levels and pledged to do everything possible to prevent a conflict in the region.

“We also exchanged views and I think we share a common view in the sense that tensions in the peninsula are quite high right now, and that things have reached a rather dangerous level,” US Secretary Rex Tillerson said at a press conference after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

“We have committed ourselves to do everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out,” he added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the meeting with Tillerson very “productive” and insisted that the conflict on the Korean peninsula must be resolved through dialogue.

“We attach great importance to your visit,” Wang told Tillerson during the meeting.

According to Wang, both leaders discussed some of the biggest differences between the two countries, including Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, the disputes in the South China Sea and the installation of the US-built Thaad anti-missile system on South Korean territory, which China opposes strongly, Efe news reported.

The US also urged China to pursue fair trade relationships that would benefit both sides after the US President repeatedly criticised China’s trade surplus.

Tillerson stressed that the US and China are the two largest economies in the world and should promote stability and growth.

“Our two countries should have a positive trade relationship that is fair and pays dividends both ways,” Tillerson said.

The visit to China by Rex Tillerson, the first member of US President Donald Trump’s cabinet to do so, is the last leg of his Asian tour, his first overseas trip since becoming the chief US diplomat.

The US Secretary of State also visited Japan and South Korea, where he warned that the policy of strategic patience followed by former US President Barack Obama towards North Korea’s nuclear programme was over and asserted that “all options are on the table,” including military action.

–IANS

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