China and the US today agreed to jointly address the threats posed by North Korea's provocative nuclear and missile programmes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that tensions in the region have spiked to "dangerous levels".
"We noted the efforts made in the last 20 years has not succeeded in curbing the threats posed by North Korea's illegal nuclear weapons programmes," Tillerson, who is on his first official visit to China, said after talks with his Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here.
During his visit to South Korea yesterday, Tillerson had cautioned North Korea that all options are on the table to deal with Pyongyang's provocative actions.
US President Donald Trump had also put out a tweet criticising Beijing's role in dealing with North Korea.
"North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been 'playing' the United States for years. China has done little to help," Trump's tweet said.
Both Tillerson and Wang avoided direct response to Trump's tweet.
"We renewed our determination to work together to convince the North Korean government to choose a better path and different future for its people," Tillerson said.
He said Wang has agreed to work together with the US to see whether "we can bring the government in Pyongyang to a place where they want to make difference and a make course correction and move away from their development of nuclear weapons".
He said the common view is that tensions in the Korean peninsula are very high and things have reached "dangerous levels".
Tillerson affirmed China and the US' commitment to prevent further escalation of tension in the region.
He said issues related to the disputed South China Sea where Trump administration has criticised Beijing's island building were also discussed.
"I discussed the importance of rule-based order with freedom navigation and over flights and made clear that the US will continue to advocate for universal values human rights and religious freedom," he said.
After his talks with Wang, Tillerson met Chinese top diplomat State Councillor Yang Jiechi whose rank is higher than that of Foreign Minister
Tillerson is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping tomorrow.
Though his visit is overshadowed by the North Korean crisis, Tillerson and Wang discussed a broad agenda and arrangements for the first summit meeting between Trump and Xi due to be held in Florida next month.
Wang who earlier this month has proposed a double suspension formula suggesting the US and South Korea to tone down the military exercises and North Korea to halt the development of nuclear weapons programme said legitimate concerns of all parties should be addressed in "synchronised fashion".
"The most important principle we have identified is that no matter what happens we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement," he said.
Stating that the main problem in the Korean Peninsula is the conflict between the US and North Korea, he said right now the situation on the peninsula has arrived at "new cross roads".
"We could either let the situation to continue to escalate and aggravate, which could finally lead to confrontation or we could continue to implement the security council's resolutions that seek a breakthrough point to start the dialogue come back to the right track of negotiated settlement," he said.
All parties, including the US, should view the situation in a cool headed and compressive fashion and arrive at a wise decision, he said.