"Russian Federation does have economic activity with North Korea", Tillerson told reporters after Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
While the Trump administration has tried to enlist China's help in persuading North Korea to put the brakes on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, it has shown signs of giving up on Beijing. Mr Trump's penchant for personal (rather than institutional) power and for installing family members in the White House, also pleased Chinese leaders: this is the sort of thing they are familiar with at home.
The US has been taking a hard line in convincing China to use its economic clout to suppress Pyongyang. "We have zero contact with them right now".
The details of their discussion suggest the leaders are seeking to keep ties on an even keel.
Tension rose further after Trump tweeted about a protocol-breaking phone conversation with Tsai on December 2 and subsequently questioned the One China policy in interviews.
Lately, Trump has expressed some impatience on China's role in North Korea - particularly after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe could have the range to reach Alaska, and parts of the US West Coast. The mistake was quickly rectified, according to the reports, and the current photo on Trump's Instagram is correct. Next the State Department approved the sale of arms worth $1.4bn to Taiwan, which China says is a mere province of the People's Republic (the sale must still be approved by America's Congress).
Xi and Trump set a constructive tone for the development of China-U.S. relations during their talks at the Mar-a-Lago resort in the U.S. state of Florida in April.
In his comments, the United States president thanked his Chinese counterpart for helping in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear program as well as the business of worldwide trade.
State news agency Xinhuasaid that Xi will order China's navy to join US -led military exercises in the Pacific Rim in 2018.
These contrasted sharply with April's decision not to label China a currency manipulator in order to avoid hurting Chinese feelings at a time when the USA was asking for its help to bring the provocative regime in Pyongyang under control.
In the event, though, the talks were cast as having gone well despite both sides stating their positions firmly.
The White House on Saturday afternoon released a readout of the meeting, saying both leaders agreed that "the global community must address North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs quickly and decisively".
"China and DPRK are definitely neighbors, and we fought a war on Korean soil a long, long time ago", Senior Colonel Zhou said, but he also noted that "China is right now united with the worldwide community to seriously honor UN resolutions, and we hope we eventually may find a solution to these problems".
Moeen stars as England crush Proteas
Alastair Cook was caught at cover, Gary Ballance nicked a beauty from Morkel, Root dragged on and Ben Stokes was plumb leg before. Maybe he sensed some unevenness on a dry pitch, maybe it was just the sense of occasion that a packed house at Lord's generates.