Tillerson earlier Friday had said US military force is an option for dealing with North Korea's pursuit of missile and nuclear weapons.
Xi said Tillerson had made a lot efforts to achieve a smooth transition in this new era of relations.
Cooperation is the "only correct" choice for both the countries, Xi said apparently referring to anti-China rhetoric by US President Donald Trump.
Comments from Tillerson even went so far as to adopt the freaky, empty diplomatic phrases the Chinese Communist Party always rolls out, like "win-wins" and "mutual respect".
Trump initially suggested using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in the relationship with China.
He said he had communicated with Mr Trump several times through telephone conversations and messages.
And he looks forward to enhancing that understanding, and the opportunity for a visit in the future.
Beijing was Tillerson's final stop on his first official trip to Asia, which also included visits to Japan and South Korea.
The president said in a tweet Friday that North Korea is "behaving very badly". "China has done little to help", Trump tweeted.
Tillerson's counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meanwhile insisted at the briefing that the USA had reached a "fundamental consensus" on dealing with the North Korean issue.
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Previously, Tillerson had said in Tokyo that 20 years of diplomatic and other efforts, including a period when the U.S. provided North Korea with $1.35bn in assistance "to take a different pathway", had come to nothing.
China urged the United States to remain "coolheaded" over North Korea and not to turn its back on dialogue, as visiting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed a "sense of urgency" to curb risky levels of tension on the Korean Peninsula.
Secretary Rex Tillerson met with President Xi Jinping for 30 minutes on Sunday at The Hall of the People in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mailandland even by force.
Tillerson needed to "undo the damage that was done during the campaign and the first days of the administration", said Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego and a former deputy assistant secretary of state under the Clinton administration.
China seems increasingly unable to control client state North Korea.
Last month, China potentially deprived Mr Kim's regime of a crucial source of foreign currency by banning imports of North Korean coal for the rest of the year.
China has proposed double suspension formula under which USA and South Korea should stop aggressive military exercises and North Korea should stop nuclear weapons programme, which drew lukewarm response from Washington.
On Thursday in Tokyo, Tillerson called for a "new approach" to dealing with North Korea.
At a press conference on Saturday with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson noted that the US would continue to raise thorny issues with China, including maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as well as human rights and religious freedoms.