03/18/2017, 12.13
CHINA-US
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US Secretary of State arrives in China, after threats of military options against Pyongyang

by Wang Zhicheng

Today the meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi; tomorrow with Xi Jinping. Patience toward North Korea "is over." Proposed boycott of Chinese banks and companies that trade with Pyongyang.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, arrived in China this morning, greeted by Chinese Minister of Foreign Wang Yi, and tomorrow he will see the President Xi Jinping. Talks will focus on preparation of a meeting between the leaders of the two superpowers, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, but almost certainly there is another issue that needs to be addressed: the nuclear threat of North Korea and options to defuse it.

With regards the meeting between Xi and Trump, American media have been rumoring that they will meet next month in Florida. In a phone call last month, the two leaders committed to shaping constructive bilateral relations. Trump also reiterated the US adherence to the principle of the One China, which had been questioned just weeks before.

But it is likely that North Korea and the threat of its nuclear program will dominate these talks.

Tillerson arrives in Beijing after visiting Japan and South Korea. At a press conference in Seoul yesterday, he said that if the military tension and nuclear threat continue to grow on the peninsula, the United States does not rule out a military operation against Pyongyang , given that its "strategic patience" is now "over." The same Trump, yesterday tweeted that China does too little to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Through Premier Li Keqiang, last weekend China reiterated that it is necessary to stop the North's nuclear program, but also to avoid provocations by the South and the United States, especially taking joint military exercises. In an editorial published today by Xinhua, Washington is called upon to open a dialogue with North Korea rather than terrify with threats.

The North Korea question however hides tensions between the two powers. Reuters, collecting statements of an undefined US representative, said that the United States would take action against Chinese banks and firms that operate with Pyongyang. For its part, Beijing accuses the US of having sold an anti-missile system to South Korea, Thaad, which serves not only to stop possible missiles from Pyongyang, but also spy on military facilities in China.

In any case, as the Xinhua editorial says; "The world's top two economies do have every reason to remain committed to a strong relationship because of their broad range of shared interests, especially in trade and commerce”. The two-way trade of goods last year exceeded 519.6 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Chinese ministry of commerce. That makes China America's largest trading partner, while America China's second largest.

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