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BEIJING: It was the kind of sit-down that China had long resisted: top U.S. officials telling Chinese counterparts how American troops would enter North Korea if the hermit regime collapsed. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent revelation that such a discussion took place would – if true – suggest a major shift in Chinese policy as Beijing comes under pressure to rein in its Korean War ally.For years Beijing had refused U.S. entreaties to discuss the possible collapse of its neighbor, but top U.S. and Chinese military officials have finally met to discuss the once-taboo topic, Tillerson said last week.Some stark topics were broached, Tillerson said: refugees flooding across the Chinese-North Korean border, U.S. troops entering the hermit country – and leaving again once they had prevented nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands.Speaking in Washington last Tuesday, Tillerson said U.S. officials had told Chinese counterparts that if a crisis forced U.S. troops to enter North Korea, they would not stay there.The comment appeared aimed at reassuring China that the United States would not occupy North Korea if the Kim regime were to fall.
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