USA and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs are meeting later Wednesday in Washington for security talks.
Stressing the gravity of security problems posed by the North, he noted that Pyongyang's military action was "the most acute threat in the region" and said the United States "called for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".
American concern is growing over North Korea's acceleration toward having a nuclear missile that can strike the US mainland.
But with the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes seen as far too risky for now, Trump's aides are stressing economic and diplomatic pressure.
Tillerson said during a press conference after the talks that both China and the United States have agreed to strictly follow UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea and not to "do business with any UN-designated North Korean entities in accordance with these resolutions".
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Tillerson stressed the need to choke off funding sources including money laundering, labor export and computer hacking.
"Its overseas interests are growing, it's investing more in other places, it's going to have an impact on governments and stability in other countries as it moves into those countries with major investments, and we think that China needs to be more involved in the global efforts to combat terrorism", she said.
The United States and China agreed to tighten sanctions on North Korea by banning companies of the two countries from doing business with UN-blacklisted North Korean companies.
Tillerson and Mattis maintained hope for continued collaboration between Beijing and Washington on the North Korean crisis.
China did not give details on the US response to the proposition Chinese government officials raised during the meeting.
Mr. Trump had made clear earlier that his preference was to work with China on North Korea, but that he was willing to go after them alone.
The talks are meant to build on progress made when President Donald Trump met China's president in Florida in April. At the same time, Trump has mostly held back on attacking Chinese trade practices, which he railed against during the presidential campaign.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried".
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