China says senior foreign policy adviser to meet Tillerson

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington. China says Yang will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson amid concerns over North Korea. Yang would visit the U.S. on Thursday, Feb. 8 and Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

China says the country's senior foreign policy adviser will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later this week amid concerns over North Korea

BEIJING — China's senior foreign policy adviser will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later this week, state media reported, amid concerns over North Korea and growing trade tensions.

The official Xinhua News Agency gave no further details in its report late Monday, but the meeting between Tillerson and Yang Jiechi comes as both sides are upping pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

China has long been the North's main economic and diplomatic partner, but has also backed increasingly strict U.N. sanctions on Kim Jong Un's regime.

The statement cited foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as its source. He said Yang, a state counselor and former foreign minister, would visit the U.S. on Thursday and Friday.

The visit comes amid rising U.S.-China economic tensions underscored by Washington's move to raise tariffs on imported solar modules, most of which come from China.

President Donald Trump has complained about a U.S. trade deficit with China that rose 12.3 percent in the first 11 months of 2017 over a year earlier to $116.7 billion.

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