China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the United States to “stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek a peaceful settlement” with North Korea, adding that they should remain “coolheaded” on the situation, and “arrive at a wise decision.”
On Saturday, Wang and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met, and appeared to be getting along much better than Tillerson’s comments over the past week, mostly talking up the possibility of attacking North Korea, would’ve suggested they would.
While Tillerson softened his tone, the various Tillerson comments in the leadup to the meeting, denouncing the idea of diplomacy with North Korea and suggesting that a preemptive military strike remains an option for the United States clearly has China unnerved.
The US and China have been at odds over how to approach North Korea’s nuclear weapons program for years, with the US looking for China to impose more sanctions, and China looking for negotiations. With China having agreed to cut off the coal trade with North Korea, there was an expectation from China that the US would give diplomacy a chance. So far, however, the administration has rejected the idea of any new diplomatic efforts.