US and China stick to script in Tillerson visit Mar 20, 2017 0 600 12345 REUTERSBEIJINGDespite a long list of potential pitfalls, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to China, the first by a senior member of the Trump administration, passed off relatively smoothly although there were no tangible gains to show.On the positive side, there was none of the awkwardness of the kind seen in Washington as President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held the first summit meeting between two of the West's biggest allies.Even a tweet from Trump criticising China the night before Tillerson landed in Beijing did not, at least in public, create any discord.As Tillerson wrapped up his visit on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping praised his 'active efforts' in making a smooth transition of the US-China relationship to the Trump era.Tillerson and the Chinese officials he met - Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councillor Yang Jiechi - struck a positive note, only hinting at differences in their positions."For setting up a new tone, it's a good start," said Sun Zhe, the co-director of the China Initiative of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs."It seems that Donald Trump's administration is coming back to the normal track, trying to work with China to solve problems."No formal agreements were announced in the visit, although the two sides said they would work together on North Korea and countering its rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.Wrapped up in the tightly scripted proceedings, however, was a sense that the world's two biggest economies were warily testing each other out as the new administration settles down in Washington. They seemed to be reserving airing of differences for another occasion.The potential points of conflict are many, some inherited and some that have come up since Trump took office in January. The US has started to deploy missile defences in South Korea that China views as a threat, Washington believes Beijing could do more to rein in Pyongyang's weapons programmes, and prominent Trump administration officials and Trump himself have bashed China's trade practices.William Cohen, a former US defence secretary, said Tillerson's visit was important for both sides. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Japan PM Abe in Europe for security, trade talks Mar 20, 2017 0 66 In fresh provocation, N Korea tests high-thrust rocket engine Mar 20, 2017 0 65 Four dead, eight injured in suicide bombing in Nigeria Mar 20, 2017 0 77 Squabble erupts over mystery break-in at S Africa judge offices AFP Johannesburg SOUTH African politicians traded accusations on Sunday over a mysterious break-in at the Johannesburg offices of the country's top judge a day after his court severely criticised the ANC .. Putin should be president for life, says Crimea PM REUTERS MOSCOW The Russian-backed prime minister of Crimea said on Saturday that Vladimir Putin should be made president of Russia for life and that the Soviet Union would never have collapsed had Putin been in charge. .. Security situation in Mali a cause of concern: UN mission AFP BAMAKO THE security situation in Mali"remains worrying" despite recent troop deployments and some progress on the country's peace accord, the head of the UN's peacekeeping force said on Saturday in ..