WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States said Wednesday that China has a responsibility to exert much greater pressure on North Korea to prevent escalating tensions with a government that ignores the law and “provokes and provokes and provokes.”
U.S. diplomatic and defense chiefs met their Chinese counterparts for security talks and pushed China to rein in companies that allegedly deal with its wayward ally North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions.
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.
Trump tweeted ahead of Wednesday’s talks that Beijing’s efforts to sway Pyongyang weren’t working. That comment came amid outrage in Washington over the death of Otto Warmbier days after the comatose American student was released from imprisonment in North Korea.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump’s commentary “represents the American people’s view of North Korea right now. We see a young man go over there healthy and with a minor act of mischief” and come home on the verge of death.
“What you are seeing I think is the American people’s frustration with the regime that provokes and provokes and provokes and basically plays outside rules, plays fast and loose with the truth,” Mattis told a news conference.
At the talks, Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department.
Their meeting took place against a backdrop of high tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula. On Tuesday, the U.S. flew two supersonic B-1B bombers there in a show of force. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the bombers engaged in routine exercises with its fighter jets aimed at deterring the North.
“China understands that the United States regards North Korea as our top security threat,”…