China

China pushes back on US talk of ‘all options’ over North Korea

China pushes back on US talk of ‘all options’ over North Korea
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) is greeted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he arrives for a bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Photo: Reuters
Published: 6:37 PM, March 18, 2017

BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pushed back against the tougher US line on North Korea, reiterating his country’s view that the only way to rein in its reclusive neighbour’s nuclear ambitions is through talks.

Mr Wang spoke at a briefing in Beijing with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who in Seoul on Friday (March 17) refused to rule out a preemptive strike against Pyongyang if the threat posed by its weapons programme was deemed severe enough.

“The most important principle we have identified is that no matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek a peaceful settlement,” Mr Wang said on Saturday. “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.”

Mr Wang said China has come up with proposals for all sides to study, though he didn’t mention what they were. While Mr Tillerson has said a key component of his new effort involves pressing China to better enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea, Mr Wang said the issue is primarily between the US and Pyongyang. BLOOMBERG