China's efforts on N Korea not worked out

But North Korea has also consistently lobbied Washington for specific concessions that would need deep negotiations, something recent USA administrations have been reluctant to pursue because of the North's weapons programs.

North Korea last tested a nuclear bomb in September, but it has conducted repeated missile test since and vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland, putting it at the forefront of Trump's security worries.

The spat underscores the risk of conflict between the world's biggest economies even as the overall relationship is on more stable ground than when Trump took office in January. This year's edition separates out the security aspects. "But by no means will China, nor will Chinese society permit it to, act as a "US ally" in pressuring North Korea", the Global Times said in an editorial.

From Capitol Hill to the White House, pressure mounted for a tough US response, even as USA diplomats sought to protect other Americans from facing a similar fate.

Last week, Tillerson told a Senate hearing that China's efforts on North Korea had been "uneven". Thornton cited Chinese restrictions on imports of North Korean coal as "notable" progress. He spent 17 months in North Korea as a prisoner after stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel room. Because of that objection, the only examination performed on the young man who died less than a week after returning to the US from North Korea was an external one. "This is a regime that regularly kidnaps foreign citizens and keeps 120,000 North Koreans in barbaric gulags". Warmbier lapsed into a coma while in North Korean custody. Fred Warmbier, the student's father, has said he disbelieves this account. "It does demand something that's beyond the typical response". A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States had limited options to rein in North Korea without Chinese assistance.

Without conclusive evidence, the question on everybody's mind now is: what killed Otto Warmbier? Three other USA citizens, including Kim, are still being held in North Korea.

Washington has some 28,000 troops deployed in South Korea and a naval armada in the region.

Since then, things had appeared to calm down.

USA officials are calling for a binding code of conduct to resolve differences. Tour operators told the wire service that Americans account for about a fifth of all non-Chinese tourism to North Korea. "He was undeserving of his treatment by the North Korea regime and we as Virginians condemn these actions".

An Ohio coroner, abiding by family wishes, has performed an external examination instead of a full autopsy on the body of the U.S. student who was held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months and sent home in a coma. In reality, Warmbier was nearly certainly tortured to death by the regime.

"This makes dealing with Kim Jong Un so toxic", Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu. About 17 USA citizens have been detained in the past 10 years, including the three Americans who remain imprisoned there.

  • Larry Hoffman