U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea if Beijing wants to prevent further escalation in the region. Addressing a joint press conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after meeting top Chinese diplomats on Wednesday, Tillerson said, “We reiterated to China that they have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region.”
Both sides called on North Korea for to halt its illegal nuclear weapons programme and it is ballistic missile test as stipulated in the UN Security Council resolutions. “The two agreed that companies should not do business with any UN-designated North Korean entities in accordance with these resolutions. China understands that the United States regards North Korea as our top security threat,” Tillerson said.
He alleged that North Korea has engaged in a number of criminal enterprises that help fund its weapons programmes. Tillerson said the two countries must step up efforts to help to curtail these sources of revenue. “Countries around the world and in the UN Security Council are joining in this effort and we hope China will do its part as well,” he said. Tillerson further said that the United States is committed to holding North Korea accountable for multiple violations of UN Security Council resolutions which expressly prohibit its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
“We regret that it is the North Korean people who suffer when the regime diverts resources to these prohibited programmes, and we urge the DPRK regime to choose a better path for its people,” he said, adding that “the U.S. opposes changes to the status quo of the past through the militarization of outposts in the South China Sea and excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law”.
Tillerson informed that China has expressed its commitment to resolve their disputes peacefully and in accordance with recognised principles of international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. During the dialogue, the two sides also decided to adopt greater coordination to face the global threat posed by terrorism.
“We will be looking to China to help the Iraqi Government in specific meaningful ways to ensure the country’s long-term stability and economic growth as it battles ISIS and begins its long process of rebuilding,” he said. Both sides also discussed increasing mutual trust and working toward a long-term risk reduction effort between the militaries and government of two countries.