North Korea nuclear crisis

China, US vow to address North Korea nuclear threat

Pledge made during phone conversation between State Councillor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 11:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 11:24pm

China and the United States have agreed on the need to address the nuclear threat posed by North Korea after a phone call between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday.

The call came after Tillerson met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi for talks at the G20 ministerial meeting in Bonn, Germany, last week.

A statement released by the US State Department said Tillerson and Yang affirmed the importance of a constructive relationship between the two nations.

The two sides also “agreed on the need to address the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability”, the statement added.

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US President Donald Trump has previously criticised China for not doing enough to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

China this week suspended all coal imports from North Korea as part of efforts to enforce United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

Tillerson and Wang also discussed economics and trade, potential cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement and international crime, the statement said.

Yang was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying that the two countries have reached consensus over safeguarding the “political foundation” of their relationship after a phone call between President Xi Jinping and President Trump earlier this month.

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Trump angered China after a protocol-breaking phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen last year.

China protested and said the Taiwan issue was the “political foundation” of ties between Beijing and Washington.

Trump later told President Xi during their telephone call that the US was committed to the one-China principle. Beijing considers self-governed Taiwan a breakaway Chinese province.

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Yang was quoted as saying during his conversation with Tillerson that he hoped both countries would work according to “the essence of the two leaders’ conversation” and would strengthen high-level exchanges and interactions at all levels between China and the US.

There was no reference to South China Sea in both statements from the two countries.

Tillerson has previously criticised China’s military buildup in the disputed waters and pledged to block China’s access to islands in the South China Sea.