U.S. President Donald Trump looks forward to enhancing relations with China, the top U.S. diplomat told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, media reported.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the remark during his visit to China, the last leg of his three-nation trip to Asia following stops in Japan and South Korea.
"We know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthening of the ties between China and the United States and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation," Tillerson was cited as saying by Reuters and AFP.
"We both believe that China-U.S. cooperation henceforth is the direction we are both striving for," Xi said, according to Reuters. "We are both expecting a new era for constructive development."
The two, however, did not directly exchange ideas on North Korea, Reuters said, amid rising military provocations from Pyongyang.
During his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, Tillerson said Washington and Beijing would work together to make Pyongyang change its course.
He also said in Seoul on Friday that all options, including military force, remain on the table in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the ground jet test of a new high-thrust rocket engine Saturday, the reclusive country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The North conducted two nuclear tests last year alone following those in 2006, 2009 and 2013. It has also fired off more than 20 ballistic missiles since 2016.
Experts said key issues were left untouched for Trump and Xi's summit which is likely to take place next month.
"The latest visit by Tillerson seemed like a stepping stone to the summit," a source in Beijing said. "Discussions will continue until the two presidents hold talks as there are many volatile issues lurking in the path."
Meanwhile, regarding the lack of a dinner meeting between Tillerson and his counterpart in Seoul, a ministry official here said there could have been "miscommunication" in setting the schedules.
Tillerson earlier said he was not invited for dinner, rebutting some media reports that it was canceled because he was tired.
"The two countries closely cooperated to set schedules considering the significance of Tillerson's first visit to South Korea and the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the official said, asking not to be named. (Yonhap)