Beijing (AsiaNews) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday met Chinese President Xi Jinping ending in Beijing his visit to China. In a joint statement, the two sides said they are committed to a new course in the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Tillerson's visit ended an Asian tour that included Japan and South Korea, US allies worried about North Korea’s nuclear threat and China’s aggressive and expansionist policy in the South China Sea.
Xi met America’s top diplomat a few hours after North Korea tested a powerful rocket engine, taxing again US-China relations. However, the two sides avoided the most sensitive issues, which had raised expectations about the US Secretary of State’s visit in East Asia.
A few days ago, Mr Tillerson had threatened military action against North Korea. But yesterday he did not mention it, nor raise the issue of Taiwan’s status, or maritime disputes involving China.
According to Chinese state media, Xi and Tillerson "exchanged warm words" during their meeting, pledging to improve understanding and cooperation at the international level.
President Xi called the cooperation between the two powers "the only correct choice," stressing "the need to strengthen strategic mutual trust and increase mutual awareness."
Diplomatic observers view Tillerson’s visit very positively, as paving the way for the first meeting between Xi and US president Donald Trump next month.
The visit also sent a reassuring signal on US-China ties, after tensions erupted before and after Trump’s election at the end of last year.
At the time, the new president threatened to impose duties on Chinese imports, and accused Beijing of currency manipulation. He even questioned the One-China policy.