China needs to exert 'much greater pressure' on N. Korea

Yet dropping bombs on Kim Jong Un's nation - an option the US says remains on the table - is so risky that many analysts see it as implausible because of North Korea's ability to launch a devastating attack on its neighbors in North Asia. Ahead of the talks, President Donald Trump tweeted that Beijing's efforts to sway its wayward ally weren't working.

A cause of death hasn't been determined for a 22-year-old college student who was detained for almost a year and a half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma, an OH coroner's office said Tuesday.

"The US should ponder over the consequences to be entailed from its reckless and rash act", he said in an apparent warning over the fate of three other US citizens now being held in the country.

Warmbier was detained in North Korea in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang after a short tour of the country.

Tillerson and Mattis met privately with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, chief of the People's Liberation Army's Joint Staff Department. On Tuesday, the US flew two supersonic B-1B bombers there in a show of force.

"North Korea remains prepared to conduct a sixth nuclear test at any time when there is an order from leadership but there are no new unusual indications that can be shared", a South Korean Defence Ministry official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "We reiterated to China that it has a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region". North Korea has refrained from testing a nuclear device and is yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

How to deal with North Korea and the growing threat from its nuclear and missile capabilities is a matter of life and death.

Mattis says China shares the USA desire for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and "continues to work this issue".

China, North Korean's main trading partner, has been accused of not fully enforcing existing United Nations sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted some tougher measures. Beforehand, China said it was hoping for "positive outcomes" from Wednesday's dialogue. He said the North "must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose to the USA and our allies before we can even consider talks".

The talks also covered the South China Sea, where Beijing's island-building and construction of possible military facilities have rattled neighbors and caused tension with Washington.

Retired Gen. James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of Defense, speaks at a press conference in Washington D.C. on June 21. Three Americans remain in detention in the reclusive country.

Tillerson's comments came after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis concluded the first session of a new ministerial-level forum for bilateral exchanges with China that was established by the Trump administration. Such a move risks fraying relations between the world's two biggest economies. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials will meet in Washington on Wednesday, and one focus will be to target North Korean companies that do business via China, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton told reporters Monday.

  • Leroy Wright