Donald Trump takes swipe at Obama on student death

Trump tweeted a somewhat conciliatory sounding message to Beijing, saying "while I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out". This year's edition separates out the security aspects.

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In this month urged the military to establish a system to efficiently deal with the North's drones.

"Since previous year, I refrained from public activities out of concern that it could harm American and Canadian detainees in the North", Bae said in the interview.

We do know that the 22-year-old university student was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June and flown to the U.S. where he died on 19 June.

He said he also presented the North Koreans with photos of Warmbier, "to let them know he was a college kid".

Susan Thornton, the senior US diplomat for East Asia, said North Korea would get "top billing".

It was unclear whether his remark represented a significant shift in his thinking in the USA effort to stop North Korea's nuclear program and its test-launching of missiles or a hardening in United States policy toward China.

"I personally believe that it is not possible for China to step up sanctions against North Korea because China has already been tough".

North Korean state media reportedly claimed that Warmbier had contracted botulism and slipped into a coma, but a doctor from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center told CNN his "pattern of brain injury" is "usually seen as result of cardiopulmonary arrest, where the blood supply to brain is inadequate for a period of time, resulting in the death of brain tissue".

Like past presidents, Trump is finding the US has limited scope for punishing North Korea, particularly over the arrest of USA citizens.

Three other Americans are still imprisoned in North Korea, accused of crimes against the Pyongyang regime. The route to inflicting significant economic pain on Kim's government remains through China.

The Trump administration has prioritized the short term - preventing North Korea from developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can strike the US mainland.

Dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of previous year have heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. He told reporters at a daily news briefing that he hopes Pyongyang and Washington could communicate over related issues.

Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that the USA government should not be responsible for Americans who are "stupid" enough to still want to travel to North Korea, especially in light of recent events.

"If the administration is smart, they'll use this as one more reason why sanctions, isolation and coercion need to be the tip of the spear against North Korea", said Medeiros, now an analyst at the Eurasia Group.

"If North Korea continues to engage in acts of provocation against the South, our military will forcefully retaliate and we warn all responsibility for events occurring going forth is with the North". Such a move risks fraying relations between the world's two biggest economies.

Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs are meeting in the U.S. capital for security talks, and North Korea will get "top billing", according to Susan Thornton, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia.

  • Zachary Reyes