During the visit, Tillerson met with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and acting Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and reiterated that the system was for purely defensive purposes.
After talks, Tillerson said the United States would work with China to deal with threats posed by North Korea, which is also a close ally of Beijing.
“So all three options are awful, bringing us back to what is our actual policy: understanding that North Korea is a nuclear weapons state and relying on deterrence to prevent war”, she said. “China has done little to help!” the USA president wrote on Twitter in a message that is likely to anger and unnerve Beijing.
South Korean government’s effort to ease China’s economic retaliation against Korea for deploying U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system through financial ministers’ talks foundered, elevating concerns over export-reliant Korean economy.
“We hope all parties including our friends from the United States could size up the situation in a cool-headed and comprehensive fashion and arrive at a wise decision”, Wang said.
On Saturday, however, Tillerson warned, no option, including military action, was off the table.
Mr. Tillerson arrived in Beijing from Seoul, where he marked a tougher US approach toward Pyongyang on Friday, ruling out direct talks advocated by China and raising the option of tougher sanctions and preemptive military action to address the threat from the North.
“The diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed”.
Trump said in a tweet on Friday that North Korea was “behaving very badly” and accused China, Pyongyang’s neighbour and only major ally, of doing little to resolve the crisis. They are publicly directed at North Korea, but the primary target audience is China and the secondary audience is any other country that may want to stand in the way of sanctions. “And I also appreciate your comment that the China-U.S. relationship can only be defined by cooperation and friendship”.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Beijing, Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, said: “US-China trade right now is worth nearly $600bn and it is a fact that China has a huge surplus in the trade with the US”.
“No mercy will be shown for those who infringe upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK even a bit”.
While the USA administration puts more pressure on China to make greater use of its leverage over North Korea to compel Pyongyang to halt its arms programs, the objective of Tillerson’s visit to Beijing is also to lay the groundwork for the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, possibly early next month.
Their talks focused on the upcoming summit between their leaders and the North’s escalating nuclear and missile threats.
China has criticised the USA get-tough approach, saying diplomacy was the “only feasible option” and challenging the Trump administration to propose a clear alternative.
South Korean businesses have been under a great deal of strain since Beijing began to heap on what appears to be a slew of retaliatory measures against Seoul, banning group trips to South Korea and placing Korean firms’ China-based units under suspension. China realizes that a personal rapport with Trump is important, and watched in consternation as Japan’s President Shinzo Abe stole a march on them with an early visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “China stays committed to the goal of denuclearization”, he said.