BEIJING, China - Urging the U.S. not to abandon diplomacy when it comes to dealing with nuclear North Korea, China told visiting U.S. Secretary of State to take a “coolheaded” approach.
America’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, who is on his maiden visit to Asia, less than two months after taking charge - had stated that there was need for a new approach in dealing with Pyongyang.
Arriving in China on Saturday, Tillerson said that tensions with North Korean had reached a “dangerous level.”
This, a day after he warned that military action is “on the table” as one option to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Tillerson even reportedly urged China to help pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
However, China is said to have urged the United States to soften its saber rattling against North Korea.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, called for a “coolheaded” approach to the situation.
Yi reportedly said, “No matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement. We hope all parties, including our friends from the United States, could size up the situation in a coolheaded and comprehensive fashion, and arrive at a wise decision.”
In what came as one of the clearest signal so far from the Trump administration, Tillerson said on Friday that “all options are on the table” to deter the threat from Pyongyang, indicating that America might consider taking military action against the reclusive nation.
Tillerson ruled out diplomatic talks - leaving the door open to military action, in what is bound to fuel fears in the region that the Trump administration is seriously considering a confrontational approach in dealing with the Kim Jong Un-led regime.
Addressing a news conference in Seoul, alongside the South Korean foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, Tillerson had said, “Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended,” taking a dig at the policy adopted by the Obama administration of trying to wait North Korea out and hoping that sanctions would prove crippling, leaving Pyongyang with no choice but to return to de-nuclearization negotiations.
Tillerson clarified, “We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” adding that while the U.S. did not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response.”
He added, “If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”
Trump meanwhile said on Twitter, before Tillerson landed in Beijing, “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!”
Tillerson meanwhile said “the Chinese and the U.S. need to have a fresh conversation about what will define the relationship between the United States and China for the next 50 years.”
Adding, “I do think because of what is happening globally with people in the world over — globalization itself —that we’re at perhaps at an inflection point in the relationship of global powers in general.”
“We can look back and see how successful we’ve been, 40 years of what I would say has been a very successful relationship with two very powerful nations living with one another without conflict. But now we find that there are issues arising that have gone unresolved. And I think how we are able to talk about those and how we are able to chart our course forward is going to set, potentially the relationship in a new era of existing together without conflict, in an era of non-conflict,” he stressed.