Turkey: US secretary of state to visit country on March 30

Bruno Cirelli
Marzo 18, 2017

Xiao also denied claims that Beijing has been carrying out systematic economic retaliation against South Korean businesses as a result of its opposition to the THAAD missile defense system that the US and South Korea believe is necessary to protect against North Korean missiles.

The trip came amid heightened tensions in the region in the wake of North Korea's successive ballistic missile launches in violation of United Nations sanctions.

FILE - Flags of China and North Korea are seen outside a closed Korean Restaurant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China, April 12, 2016.

"The United States provided $1.35 billion dollars in assistance to North Korea as an encouragement to take a different pathway".

Sign up to our daily newsletter for your chance to win. China fears the system will peek into its own secretive country. Wang last week therefore called for Seoul and Washington to "cease and desist" THAAD deployment.

China is perhaps the last country with significant leverage over North Korea, which has ignored several rounds of UN-backed sanctions targeting its banned weapons program. So when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaches Beijing on Saturday for discussions with his Chinese peers, China will welcome the meeting.

President Donald Trump caused anxiety during his election campaign by suggesting USA allies Japan and South Korea need to do more to defend themselves.

China is also concerned that the Trump team might even be thinking about a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's nuclear capabilities. The Communist leadership will repeat how Sino-U.S. economic agreements help cost-conscious American manufacturers and importers on both sides.

It's also curious to know whether Tillerson means what he said in January about blocking China from islands it has reclaimed in disputed waters off its southern coast. Tillerson dined with Trump on Monday, the night before he flew to Asia.

"We have more key issues of common concern, like North Korea", one official said, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. The White House ideologues are taking a more direct role in foreign policy with little regard for the established protocols.

In this context, the deal-maker in Trump's political persona has surfaced with his comments that "everything is under negotiation" with Beijing, and it appears that he and his team may ultimately be looking for a grand bargain extending beyond the security arena to economics too. "As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the US will be directly engaged in". This is an audacious goal, which still lacks any obvious definition, and it is unclear if the pledge remains in place given the rhetorical bellicosity of Trump to China. "He's going to have an opportunity at every stop to talk about next steps or what we do now, with respect to North Korea", he said.

This is the second time in as many weeks that China has floated this plan.

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