The United States and China pledged to cooperate in addressing the threat of North Korea’s nuclear program. The pledge came as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the situation already reached a ‘dangerous level’.
Notably, the statements between Tillerson as well his Chinese counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. seemed to be conciliatory. The show of cooperation came despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s accusation that China is not doing anything to stop its communist neighbor. Meanwhile, China blamed the U.S. for further putting fuel to the hostility of the volatile region.
Tillerson stated, “I think 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.” Yi stated that the U.S. and China will work together to see if they can bring North Korea’s government on a different course. They hoped that North Korea will steer clear of the development of nuclear weapons.
Tillerson went to Beijing last Saturday. He already visited Japan and South Korea. During his visits to the allied nations, he made a statement that the U.S. will not observe the failed patient diplomacy to North Korea.
Last year, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests. Recently, the nation also had missile launches. North Korea described its launches as a practice for attacking U.S. bases in Japan. Experts believe that China is reluctant to put harsh pressure on the unpredictability of North Korea. Despite the reluctance, China will retaliate if North Korea triggers a confrontation.
The United States and China are concerned with North Korea’s nuclear development
China also stated that U.S. is only elevating the situation through the military exercises with South Korea. Additionally, China denounced the fact that the U.S. deployed an anti-missile system in South Korea.
Beijing called for a diplomatic negotiation with North Korea on departing from its nuclear program. In spite of the continuous diplomatic negotiations, North Korea remained deaf to the pleas of stopping its nuclear development.
In a visit to South Korea, Tillerson stated that the U.S. is still “exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, economic measures.” He did not give any details but stated that a U.S. military action against North Korea remained “on the table” if ever Pyongyang continues its provocations.
China believes that diplomatic talks were the only feasible option. Beijing challenged the Trump administration to propose something better than diplomacy. Critic says that the sudden change of China’s tone might be related to the negotiations as President Xi Jinping will visit Trump.
Despite the differences, both the U.S. and China share concerns on North Korea’s aggressive nuclear development. China took one of the toughest moves on North Korea last February. China announced that will halt all imports of North Korean coal. The North Korean coal is a key source of income for the impoverished communist state, citing the United Nations’ sanctions.