US Pushing China to Rein in Companies That Deal With N. Korea - NBC New York
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US Pushing China to Rein in Companies That Deal With N. Korea

President Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for trying to contain North Korea, which counts on China for 90 percent of its trade, but the effort has delivered few results

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    President Donald Trump on Monday called North Korea "a brutal regime," commenting on the death of Otto Warmbier, who was convicted of stealing a propaganda poster while touring North Korea. The 22-year-old student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor but was returned to the United States on June 13 in a coma. Warmbier passed away on June 19. (Published Monday, June 19, 2017)

    The U.S. pushed China Wednesday to rein in companies that deal with North Korea after President Donald Trump tweeted ahead of the high-level talks that Beijing's efforts to sway its wayward ally weren't working.

    Trump has been counting on China to use its economic leverage with the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as American concern grows over the North's acceleration toward having a nuclear missile that can strike the U.S. mainland.

    The security talks between U.S. and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs are occurring amid outrage in Washington over the death of Otto Warmbier days after the American student was released from imprisonment in North Korea in a coma.

    U.S. lawmakers are pressing for a tough response against Pyongyang over its treatment of the 22-year-old university student, who was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group and was convicted of subversion.

    Tillerson Calls for UN Sanctions on North Korea

    [NATL] Tillerson Calls for UN Sanctions in Response to North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for North Korea's "financial isolation" at a U.N. Security Council meeting in April 2017. Tillerson also threatened sanctions on countries that continue to trade with North Korea, singling out China.

    (Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017)

    Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for trying to contain North Korea, which counts on China for 90 percent of its trade, but the effort has delivered few results. North Korea hasn't conducted a nuclear test explosion as feared earlier this year but has kept up its rapid pace of missile launches.

    "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump tweeted Tuesday.

    Also Tuesday, the U.S. flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. often sends powerful warplanes in times of heightened animosities with North Korea. South Korea's Defense Ministry said the bombers engaged in routine exercises with its fighter jets aimed at deterring the North.

    At the talks in Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis were hosting Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the People's Liberation Army's joint staff department.

    Susan Thornton, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia, said North Korea would get "top billing." She said the U.S. would be consulting with China on implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that are intended to restrict revenue and technology for the North's nuclear and missile programs.

    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. But she said the U.S. wants more action against blacklisted North Korean companies doing business through China.

    Sean Spicer Speaks About China and North Korea

    [NATL] Sean Spicer Speaks About China and North Korea

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer says that the results of President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month "are paying off" with respect to North Korea. China is urging a return to negotiations over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons after Vice President Mike Pence warned that the U.S. has lost its patience with the regime.

    (Published Monday, April 17, 2017)

    Beijing, which wants resumed U.S. negotiations with North Korea, was hoping for "positive outcomes" from Wednesday's dialogue, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

    The discussions replace a strategic and economic dialogue held annually under the Obama administration. Those talks rarely produced significant results. This year's edition separates out the security aspects.

    Thornton said the talks would also cover the South China Sea, where Beijing's island-building and construction of possible military facilities have rattled neighbors and caused tension with Washington; U.S.-Chinese military cooperation to reduce risk of conflict; and efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.

    Divisive trade issues will be dealt with at a later date.

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

    His administration is considering a ban on Americans visiting North Korea. That would only slightly add to the North's isolation and loss of revenue. The route to inflicting significant economic pain on Kim's government remains through China.

    Protesters Removed From Senate Health Care Bill Hearing

    [NATL] Health Care Bill Protesters Forcibly Removed From Senate Finance Committee Room

    Protesters chanting "No cuts for Medicaid, save our liberty!" were forcibly removed from the Senate Finance Committee room Monday as lawmakers attempted to convene a hearing into the Republican Graham Cassidy health care bill.

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    Washington has one threat it can use with Beijing: The possibility of "secondary" sanctions that go after Chinese companies doing business in North Korea. Such a move risks fraying relations between the world's two biggest economies.

    The Chinese state-run Global Times warned in an editorial that if Washington imposes sanctions against Chinese enterprises "it will lead to grave friction between China and the U.S."

    Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.