Tillerson meets China's Xi, says Trump hopes to meet 'soon': State Dept.

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The Chinese government - North Korea's biggest trading partner and main ally - has for decades refused to impose sanctions that would cripple its neighbor's economy out of fears of a refugee crisis on the border.

Tillerson recently visited Japan, South Korea and China on trip that focused on North Korea's nuclear program.

The two, however, did not directly exchange ideas on North Korea, Reuters said, amid rising military provocations from Pyongyang.

Secretary Tillerson also conveyed that President Trump is anticipating the two will soon be able to meet face-to-face for discussions that will chart the course for future U.S.

He singled out China again Friday, tweeting, "North Korea is behaving very badly".

North Korea in 2009 walked out of the talks hosted by China, and swore it would not return.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S.is looking forward to the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

As North Korea's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance, China has grown increasingly concerned about the possibility of conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Tillerson's counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meanwhile insisted at the briefing that the USA had reached a "fundamental consensus" on dealing with the North Korean issue. Tourism, transport business and cultural exchanges between China and South Korea have all reportedly suffered since the spat.

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On Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the successful test of a high-thrust engine, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, saying the event had "historic significance" that could lead to the "new birth" of the country's indigenous rocket industry.

North Korea has accelerated its weapons development, violating multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions without being deterred by sanctions.

"I'm confident that as long as we can do this the relationship can surely move in the right direction", Xi said. "We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures". On Friday in Seoul, he warned ominously that all options were on the table to counter the threat from Pyongyang.

The North conducted two nuclear tests past year alone following those in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US mainland within a few years.

China has stridently opposed the deployment of a USA missile defense system to South Korea, saying its X-band radar can peer deep into China to monitor flights and rocket launches.

KCNA quoted the unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying the USA should accept that North Korea is a nuclear-capable nation that "has the will and capability to fully respond to any war the US would like to ignite".

During his confirmation hearings in January, Tillerson compared China's island-building and deployment of military assets to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and suggested that China's access to its newly built islands should be blocked. "China has done little to help!" His pick for USA trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has said he would use a "multifaceted approach" to cracking down on Chinese trade abuses.

Xi said China expects to reach a consensus with Trump and to boost bilateral, regional, and global ties at all levels and properly address and manage sensitive issues.

It is Tillerson's first visit to China since he assumed office last month. He has also said the USA would not continue participating in the U.N. Human Rights Council unless it undergoes "considerable reform".

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