Donald Trump, president of the United States broached the subject of reining in North Korea when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping at a Florida resort and impressed upon him the need to ensure that Pyongyang stops its activities associated with nuclear weapons. Trump had suggested that Jinping stops business dealings with North Korea as part of the prevailing sanctions.

However, it appears that China has yet to make up its mind and Trump is believed to have surrendered to the inevitable. Therefore, two of his most senior cabinet officials namely US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have joined forces to mediate with Chinese officials and evolve a strategy.

How things soured up

Sky News reports that the situation was aggravated with the death of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier, a native of Ohio who was held captive in North Korea for 17 months on spurious charges. He was returned back to the United States with serious health conditions and died soon after. Donald Trump feels that, if China had intervened in time, the tragedy could have been averted.

Rex Tillerson has explained the positon to Chinese officials during the first session of a forum for bilateral exchanges with China. This forum has been established by the Trump administration. During the interaction, Tillerson reiterated that China is in a position to exert various types of economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang which can prevent escalation of tension in the region.

The tragedy of Otto Warmbier

The Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the mediation efforts undertaken by China in the tragedy of Otto Warmbier. He had gone to North Korea as a healthy young man and was sent to prison on reportedly trumped up charges.

On the subject of Pyongyang’s nuclear programs, the Chinese have said that the focal point of the nuclear issue does not lie with China.

The spokesman of the ministry went on to add that China has always played an important and constructive role on the subject

It is obvious that arriving at a solution to the issues in the Korean peninsula is not an easy task, especially when nuclear weapons are involved. There are various forces at work with diametrically opposite motives.

North Korea is improving the range of its missiles and the United States has positioned its warships in the peninsula. While it is important to evolve a solution, it is also equally important not to disturb the balance of power in the region. Show of strength by any of the sides could lead to disastrous results because the major powers would get divided. That could complicate matters and lead to an unwanted situation in the world.