Rex Tillerson pledges to work together with China

In South Korea on Friday, Mr Tillerson issued the starkest threat to date against North Korea, which has been testing missiles and atomic weapons in defiance of worldwide sanctions, when he said that pre-emptive military action against North Korea might be necessary if the threat from its weapons programme reaches a level "that we believe requires action".

During a joint news conference Saturday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Tillerson said both the us and China have a similar goal, The Washington Post reported.

He outlined a tougher strategy to confront North Korea's nuclear threat and said he was not interested in talks with Pyongyang unless it started the process of giving up its nuclear weapons.

There was no immediate reaction from North Korea but the country's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried a commentary Saturday threatening to launch a devastating nuclear attack if the United States takes military action.

The "strategic patience" approach refers to the Obama administration's policy of using sanctions in the hopes that they would prove stifling enough to force North Korea to return to serious talks on denuclearization. But he added that "if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that will be met with an appropriate response".

China has called for a dual track approach, urging North Korea to suspend its tests and the US and South Korea to suspend military drills so both sides can return to talks.

Tillerson's comments came during his first official visit to Asia as President Donald Trump's secretary of state.

"Efforts toward North Korea to achieve peaceful stability over the last two decades have failed to make us safer".

Video: North Korea: credible threat?

He said that to back up its talk of wanting to help North Korea, the United States has provided $1.3 billion in assistance since 1995.

Sunday, Tillerson plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who's expected to meet with Trump next month.

Tillerson said Wang agreed on the need for a "sense of urgency" on coming to a "course correction" with Pyongyang. It has been described as a listening tour by the State Department in order to devise a better policy for dealing with North Korea, the AP story explained.

According to Global Times, Tillerson's visit has "served to reduce anxiety over US-China" ties. But Chinese official repeatedly say they do not have the influence over North Korea that Washington and others believe.

The secretary of state noted that North Korea doesn't provide "the same type of transparency and forewarning when they chose to launch ballistic missiles". "I'm sorry, but the United States and South Korea don't have the right to demand this of China", it said in an editorial.

North Korea, in spite of unyielding worldwide pressure, has continued actively working to develop reliable nuclear weapons, and the current US administration's answer is to give Pyongyang more time to choose a different path.

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