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Tillerson calls for China to use influence over N. Korea

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called strongly for China to use its influence over North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs, as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Florida for summit talks with President Donald Trump.

"We are hopeful that China will find ways to exercise influence over North Korea's actions to dismantle their nuclear weapons and their missile technology programs," Tillerson told reporters after greeting Xi at a Florida airport. 
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Yonhap)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Yonhap)

"Whether choosing their authority on the UN Security Council or utilizing new levers of power, China can be part of a new strategy to end North Korea's reckless behavior and ensure security, stability and economic prosperity in Northeast Asia," he said.

Even as the US shares the desire to work together with China, it also recognizes the "challenges China can present to American interests," Tillerson said, adding, "We renew our strong commitments to our allies in Asia and around the world who have been valuable partners in preserving shared values and security interests."

China is North Korea's last-remaining major ally and a key provider of food and fuel supplies. But it has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and hurt Chinese national interests.

Trump has repeatedly said he would use the summit with Xi to get China to exercise real pressure on Pyongyang.