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Tillerson urges China to 'use all available tools' to rein in N. Korea

2017/02/18 01:19

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China on Friday to "use all available tools" to rein in North Korea when he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, his spokesman said.

The meeting took place in the Germany city of Bonn on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Group of 20 nations. It was the first time the top diplomats from the two countries have met since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Secretary Tillerson also highlighted the increasing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and urged China to use all available tools to moderate North Korea's destabilizing behavior," State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

The talks came less than a week after North Korea test-fired a newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile in its first provocative act since Trump came into office.

During the meeting, Tillerson and Wang also noted the recent call between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and discussed efforts to advance bilateral cooperation while addressing differences in a constructive manner, Toner said.

They also discussed the need to create a level playing field for trade and investment, he said.

The Trump administration has been putting together a new policy on North Korea.

Details are scarce, but a key element of the new policy is likely to pressure China to exercise more of its leverage as the North's main food and energy provider to rein in the provocative regime.

Tillerson has strongly hinted at the possibility of imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with North, saying the threat or use of sanctions may be necessary to force North Korean leaders, and those that support them, to reassess the costs and benefits of continuing current policies.