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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets Chinese president to strengthen ties Updated: 2017-03-20 06:03:53 KST

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sat down for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday in Beijing in the final meeting of his East Asia tour.
The two exchanged warm words and appeared to put aside contentious issues.
Tillerson told the Chinese leader that President Donald Trump looks forward to enhancing bilateral relations and also to the opportunity for a visit in the future.

"We know that through further dialogue, we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthening of ties between China and the United States, and set the tone for our future relationship for cooperation."

President Xi in return said he was glad to see good progress from Tillerson's meetings in China, which included talks on Saturday with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
President Xi noted that he had already spoken with the U.S. leader several times by telephone and said he and Trump are (quote) " both expecting a new era of constructive development in bilateral relations."
Tension between the two countries has built up over the past few months as President Trump repeatedly accused China, North Korea's neighbor and main trading partner, of not doing enough to control Pyongyang's nuclear provocations.
The regime has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
Trump has also criticized Beijing on issues ranging from trade to its fortification of the South China Sea.
The tensions were compounded by the decision to deploy the U.S. THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.
Tillerson and President Xi did not publicly address the issue of North Korea.
However, that conversation could come fairly soon.
Negotiations are underway for a potential first summit meeting between Presidents Xi and Trump next month in the U.S..
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News
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