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Xi, Tillerson vow to work toward closer US-China ties

U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.. (Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.. (Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged in talks yesterday that the two powers would work to strengthen a relationship that has been unsettled by disputes over North Korea and trade.

Xi met Tillerson in Beijing just hours after nuclear-armed North Korea tested US-China unity anew with a provocative rocket engine test, and with negotiations under way for a potential Xi summit next month with President Donald Trump in the United States.

Xi said told Tillerson that he and Trump had resolved in a phone call last month “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.”

“I’m confident that as long as we can do this the relationship can surely move in the right direction,” Xi said.

En route to Beijing, Tillerson visited US allies Japan and South Korea where he declared Washington would drop the “failed” approach of strategic patience diplomacy with Pyongyang – a sharp break with China, which favors careful diplomacy over heated rhetoric.

Relations have also been strained by China’s fierce opposition to a US anti-missile defense system being deployed in South Korea, and Trump’s Twitter accusation on Friday that China was not doing enough to control its neighbor and historic ally Pyongyang. (AFP)

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