U.S. weighs sanctions on countries doing business with North Korea

The United States is weighing imposing sanctions on countries that do business with North Korea and looking for ways to revive strained relations with Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.At a committee hearing, he also defended President Donald Trumps plans for steep reductions in U.S. spending on diplomacy and foreign aid. Senators from both major parties charged that such cuts would ultimately hurt America.At the start Tillerson told lawmakers that North Korea had released Otto Warmbier, a U.S. university student held captive for 17 months, and the United States was seeking the release of three other detained Americans.Washington has sought to increase economic and political pressure on Pyongyang because of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The North has conducted five nuclear tests and is believed to be making progress toward an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the United States.Tillerson said Washington is discussing North Korea with all of its allies, and seeing some response from China, its biggest trading partner. He said North Korea would top the agenda at next weeks high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials.Tillerson said the United States would have to work with other countries to deny North Korea access to basics such as oil and will have to consider whether to impose sanctions on those doing business with North Korea.


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