12 August, 2017
When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China's Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S.
The trade investigation could strain relations between the USA and China as the two countries wrestle with the unpredictable situation over North Korea.
Beyond the bluster, the Trump administration has been quietly engaged in back channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months - addressing Americans imprisoned in the communist country and deteriorating relations between the long-time foes. Throughout the past half a year of rhetoric, the U.S. has been threatening North Korea far more than North Korea has been threatening the US. This grim possibility necessarily comes with a question: can the United States, having attacked North Korea and started a calamitous war, claim it was done in "self defense"?
The comments came after Trump unleashed a slew of fresh threats against North Korea on Friday, declaring the USA military "locked and loaded". These types of talks are often used to manage hard diplomatic situations and while they don't involve current representatives of the U.S. government or the ruling administration, they establish lines of communication through think tank experts and former officials.
In an editorial on Saturday, North Korea's Minju Joson newspaper said that the US "finds itself in an ever worsening dilemma, being thrown into the grip of extreme security unrest by the DPRK".
On Friday, he tweeted: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely". "I don't think we are there yet. They didn't want to take on the issue and I have no choice but to take it on".
Trump later publicly signalled his interest in talks, saying in May that he would be "honored" to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances" to defuse tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. Trump's comments, however, do not appear to be backed by significant military mobilization on either side of the Pacific, and an important, quiet diplomatic channel remains open.
The US has been in contact with North Korea since at least February at an official level and there have been lower-level talks between Americans - though none who represent the US government - and North Korean officials.
North Korea has lashed back at the USA following President Donald Trump's latest warnings.
They included Mr Warmbier, who was imprisoned for stealing a propaganda poster and only allowed to return to the U.S. in June - in an unconscious state.