US Agrees to Expand Cooperation With China on North Korea, Counterterrorism

The United States has demanded North Korea release three other US citizens it holds in detention: missionary Kim Dong Chul and academics Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song.Defense Secretary Jim Mattis vowed at the same press conference to “continue to take necessary measures to defend ourselves and our allies” against North Korea, which is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US.The remarks came just one day after Trump said China had tried to use its leverage over North Korea to free American student Otto Warmbier, but that the effort had failed.Last year, Mr Warmbier confessed to trying to take a propaganda banner during a visit to North Korea and had been subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour.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.”We both [the U.S. and China] call for complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we call on the DPRK to halt its illegal nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile tests”, Tillerson said after he and Mattis met with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff.Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke at the State Department after their meetings with China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department.Tillerson urged China to help crack down on illicit North Korean activities that fund its nuclear and missile programmes, and said the Chinese had agreed their companies “should not do business” with sanctioned North Korean entities.Tillerson stressed the need to choke off funding sources including money laundering, labour export and computer hacking. Beforehand, China said it was hoping for “positive outcomes” from Wednesday’s dialogue.China, North Korean’s main trading partner, has been accused of not fully enforcing existing United Nations sanctions on its neighbour, and has resisted some tougher measures. The two leaders met in Florida in April and Trump has frequently praised Xi while resisting criticizing Chinese trade practices.”On South China Sea, this is a dialogue where we identified areas where we can work together, and to understand those areas where we have, I would call them disconnects, where our understanding of the problem is very different from theirs”.The Global Times op-ed asserted that the USA has “absurd” expectations for Beijing to solve the issues on the Korean Peninsula and overestimates China’s influence on Pyongyang.On Tuesday, President Donald Trump called North Korea’s treatment of Warmbier a “disgrace”, saying Warmbier’s death could have been avoided if he was brought home earlier.O’Donnell challenged that. “It’s not clear that, even under President Trump, that he will agree to allow you to negotiate with the North Koreans without any preconditions”, she said.He added that the President shares the views of the American people regarding North Korea in their “frustration with a regime that provokes and provokes and provokes and basically plays outside the rules, plays fast and loose with the truth”.He was addressing a gathering at an Iowa community college along with state Governor Terry Branstand, the new U.S. ambassador to Beijing.”To resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, China has been making unremitting efforts and we have been playing an important and constructive role”, said Geng Shuang, a foreign ministry spokesman, while stressing China was not the “focus and the crux” of the crisis.