Last month, the DPRK -- another name for the North Korean government -- detained a 50-year-old American adjunct professor from the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology named Tony Kim at the city's airport as he was about to leave the country with his wife. His detainment comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are at an all-time high. Tony Kim (also known as Kim Sang-duk) is the third American held by the North Korean government since last year. The others, 22-year-old Otto Warmbier and 62-year-old Kim Dong-chul are still in North Korea serving 10 to 15-year sentences of hard labor.

With the noted tension between both countries, the question many are asking now is: What does North Korea want?

Beating the drums of war

The most recent sign of tension was on Monday, when two supersonic U.S. B-1B bombers took part in a training exercise with South Korean troops over the Korean Peninsula, which was clearly meant as a show of force to North Korea. On Tuesday, the DPRK's KCNA's state news agency said that the bombers were part of the U.S' agenda to push them to the brink of nuclear war while at the same time, U.S. President Donald Trump said that under better circumstances, he would like to sit down and talk with the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

Both the U.S. military response and President Trump's effort for diplomacy have alarmed many.

While China has expressed some agreement with the U.S. stance on provoking North Korea, they and other nations have asked for calm. Trump's outreach also parallels a similar response from a known human rights violator, president of the Philippines Duterte who Trump recently invited to the White House. Despite Duterte's violations for reportedly having his police force kill over 4,000 suspected drug dealers and users, he also suggested that Trump not escalate tensions.

Diplomatic sanctions

Perhaps under regional pressure, the Trump administration has become a supporter of sanctions over military bluster because, on Tuesday, Congress made a bipartisan effort to put together a bill they are expected to vote on by the end of the week that will further sanction North Korea.

Those sanctions include more trade restrictions, denying ships from the country to dock in various ports throughout the region, as well as additional restrictions on their finances.

The reason for the rush to vote on these sanctions is apparently meant to pressure China to do more about the DPRK, which goes with the President's promise that if China doesn't do something to rein in Kim Jong-un, then the U.S. would go it alone. In one Blasting News article about China's relationship with the DPRK, it was stated by former CIA Director Mike Morell that the U.S. needs China in order for the U.S. to apply the right kind of pressure on North Korea. But, he has also said that strangling the North a little too much could cause instability in the region. North Korea has reportedly lashed out at China for siding with the U.S. over sanctions, calling it a betrayal.