PBS NewsHour

5 important stories that deserve a second look

Trump advisers Steve Bannon (back L) and Jared Kushner (back R) listen as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members
         of his Cabinet at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump advisers Steve Bannon (back L) and Jared Kushner (back R) listen as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of his Cabinet at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

There was a time when the White House press briefings were routine. Now, they’re becoming shorter — that is, if they happen at all.

Last week, most of the briefings with White House press secretary Sean Spicer went off camera; reporters’ questions could only be recorded as audio. On Monday, neither video or audio was allowed at the briefing. When the White House press office does answer questions, it’s increasingly the “verbal equivalent of a shrug,” the Washington Post said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions shrugged off some questions from senators during a hearing about Russia’s role in the 2016 elections. Among the things that are still unclear: when President Donald Trump decided to fire Comey and why Sessions was involved. (Sessions also declined to discuss any of his conversations with the president.)

Trump called the whole thing a “witch hunt” in a series of messages that set Twitter afire on Friday. (Trump attorney Michael Cohen, meanwhile, has hired a lawyer of his own.)

While we wait for answers, here are five stories that provide some insight into what’s happening outside the Capitol.

1. For the first time, The Southern Baptist Convention denounces white nationalists and racists

Geyna Moore, 19, raises up her hands amongst other students during a worship service at the Baptist Campus Ministry at
         Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, United States, September 23, 2015. In the Bible Belt of southern U.S. states,
         Kentucky and Georgia among them, church and religion are ever present, from well-attended services to prayer groups and choirs.
         Crosses hang from necklaces and prayers are said before meals and Little League baseball sessions. Even so, Americans as a
         whole are becoming less religious, judging by such markers as church attendance, prayer and belief in God, according to a
         recent poll by Pew Research Center. Picture taken September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brittany Greeson - RTS66II

Geyna Moore, 19, raises up her hands amongst other students during a worship service at the Baptist Campus Ministry at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photo by REUTERS/Brittany Greeson – RTS66II

The Southern Baptist Convention condemned white nationalists and racism at its annual meeting last week in Phoenix, a historic moment for a church born from divisions over slavery before the Civil War.

Other religious groups have taken similar stances; the Episcopal Church voted as early as 1991 that the “practice of racism is a sin.” While the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for its support of slavery and segregation in 1995, it did not formally denounce racism until it was approached by Williams Dwight McKissic, Sr., the preacher of a 3,000-person congregation at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

The issue hit home for McKissic, who began preaching more than four decades ago in his hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. In 2015, after local police officer Brad Miller shot and killed black teen Christian Taylor, McKissic guided community dialogues — often focused on race — to help his congregation move forward. A few months ago, McKissic, a black minister, said he was alarmed by the racist views of alt-right leader Richard Spencer. He said he wanted to be able to tell sympathizers of the alt-right movement, Southern Baptist or not, that the church denounced racism.

“My assumption was that it was a no-brainer,” McKissic told the NewsHour.

McKissic asked the Southern Baptist Convention to reject “the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘Alt-Right,'” a racist movement based on a mix of white nationalism, neo-Nazi beliefs and hard-edged populism.

After some revisions and a series of votes, the resolution earned overwhelming support and a standing ovation.

“This resolution has a number on it. It’s resolution number 10. The white supremacy it opposes also has a number on it. It’s 6-6-6,” Russell Moore, of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee, said ahead of the vote, referencing an apocalyptic bible passage.

“God loves everyone, and we love everyone,” Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines said in a statement that also told members to “come against every kind of racism that there is.”

Why it’s important

Roughly 15 million people belong to the Southern Baptist Convention. Of those, 85 percent are white, a figure that has remained unchanged since at least 2007, according to the Pew Research Center. What has changed is the percent of black church members — down from 8 percent in 2007 to 6 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the percent of Southern Baptists who are millennials is growing, up from less than 1 percent in 2007 to 7 percent this year, according to Pew.

McKissic said the convention’s younger generation helped convince church leaders to reverse course and vote against racism: “It reinforced our belief that the Southern Baptist Convention is on the right page and moving in the right direction with regards of race,” McKissic said.

But McKissic said he hopes convention leadership will still address other church teachings that he said promoted racism, like the “curse of Ham,” an obscure Old Testament reference used to justify slavery. McKissic had asked the convention to publicly denounce the theory as part of his resolution, but that part of his proposal was removed by the committee before the final vote.

He wants to see church congregations reflect greater unity, too.

“We’re the church, not a black church and a white church,” McKissic said. “In the 21st century, our churches need to become one.”

2. D.C. police issue warrants for Turkish agents involved in a May brawl

D.C. police issued warrants for the arrest of more than a dozen Turkish security agents that were involved in a brawl outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., last month.

The violence began when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was greeted by a group of protesters at the residence after his May 16 meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Cell phone video posted online from that day shows a heated exchange of words before men with suits run across Sheridan Circle onto the grass; bodies fly to the ground as police try to break up a flurry of fistfights.

“The Turks … the Turks attacked me,” a man, face slashed and bloodied, yelled to a videographer at the scene.

D.C. police said after the brawl that they had arrested two members of Erdogan’s security team. But those people were later released after the State Department argued they had diplomatic immunity, as reported by the Washington Post.

Last week, D.C. police said two people were arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor assault charges; the department has issued warrants for 14 other people involved in the fight.

Critics were upset that these charges were not pursued more quickly. But a statement from Turkey’s foreign ministry last week said “the decision taken by US authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis; that the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures.”

“This incident would not have occurred if the US authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore … Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place,” the statement said. The Post reports that Turkish officials also claim they were acting in self defense.

Why it’s important

U.S President Donald Trump (L) welcomes Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the entrance to the West Wing
         of the White House in Washington, U.S. May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX363K1

President Donald Trump, left, welcomes Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16 at the entrance to the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

The clash comes at a moment of high tension for the U.S. and Turkey.

The countries disagreed over a decision by the U.S. in February to arm Kurdish rebels fighting against ISIS in Syria. Turkey considers those fighters to be members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (known as PKK), which has led a 30-year revolt against the Turkish government; the U.S. also considers it a terrorist group, the AP notes.

Turkish officials claimed some protesters involved in the May brawl were members of that organization.

What makes this so complicated: Most of Erdogan’s security force is protected by diplomatic immunity, which protects embassy employees from prosecution in a host country.

But a state department official told CNN that “their diplomatic immunity lapsed when they left the country, and they would be subject to arrest if they returned to the United States.”

It’s too early to tell whether Turkey will waive diplomatic immunity, or make those named as suspects available for interviews, the AP writes. Either way, the conflict isn’t likely to make the relationship between the two NATO allies — who must work together closely in Syria as well as on the global fight against terrorism — any better.

3. Seattle police release audio of the fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles

Two Seattle police officers shot and killed a 30-year-old black woman who had alerted authorities of a possible burglary at her apartment over the weekend. The Seattle Police Department released dashcam audio of the fatal encounter on Monday.

There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, two officers responded to reports of a burglary at a fourth-floor apartment, where they found a woman “armed with a knife,” the department initially reported. “Both officers fired their duty weapons, striking the woman,” its online blotter said.

Family members identified the woman as Charleena Lyles and told the Seattle Times that she was several months pregnant and had suffered from mental health issues the past year.

Seattle police confirmed that three children were inside the apartment when the shooting occurred and that the officers had “less lethal force options” at their disposal. The department confirmed to the Times that both officers are white.

Police said a burglary report would normally require one officer, but two were dispatched “because of a recent officer safety caution associated with the caller.”

There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

The released audio, which can be hard to hear at times, starts with some chatter among the officers about a previous visit to the caller’s home regarding a domestic violence incident. A short time later, a woman is heard greeting the officers. There is talk of a stolen Xbox.

Moments later, an officer is heard saying “Get back! Get back!” before shots ring out. Police said the officers shot the woman multiple times after she had brandished a knife.

“There’s no reason for her to be shot, in front of her babies!” Monika Williams, Lyles’ sister, is heard saying in a Times video.

“Why couldn’t they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” Williams said.

Lyles’ family believes race was a factor in the shooting, the Times reported.

“Today’s incident is a tragedy for all involved,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. The mayor also promised a thorough investigation into the shooting.

Why it’s important

The SPD was the subject of a federal civil rights investigation in 2011, in which the Justice Department found that the department routinely engaged in “in a pattern or practice of using unnecessary or excessive force.”

Since that probe, the city of Seattle has been under a consent decree, meaning there was an agreement between the local police department and the Justice Department to pursue court-enforceable reforms with an independent monitor attached.

But the Trump administration has pushed back on these agreements. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote in a memo that it “is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies.” Sessions then called for a review of all consent decrees. It’s not clear what that review, or this incident, means for Seattle’s force.

4. Yoko Ono finally gets an “Imagine” songwriting credit

Photo of John LENNON; with Yoko Ono, playing white grand piano at Tittenhurst home during making of the "Imagine"
         film. Photo by Tom Hanley/Redferns

Photo of John LENNON; with Yoko Ono, playing white grand piano at Tittenhurst home during making of the “Imagine” film. Photo by Tom Hanley/Redferns

After more than 45 years, Yoko Ono will finally share the songwriting credit on the 1971 hit “Imagine” with her late husband John Lennon.

Last week, the National Music Publishers Associations announced the long overdue change as it presented Ono with the Centennial Song Award.

In a 1980 BBC interview with the couple, excerpted for the ceremony, Lennon says Ono was left off the credits because he was “a bit more selfish, a bit more macho.”

“[The song] should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it – the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko,” the Beatles co-founder told BBC. “But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution,” Lennon said.

Lennon added that Ono’s 1964 book “Grapefruit” directly inspired “Imagine.”

Why it’s important

The sexism Ono faced decades ago still exists today when it comes to female artists and their contributions to their own work, as Bjork explained in a2015 interview with Pitchfork:

“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second.”

Bjork told Pitchform that for her latest album, media reports gave another producer sole credit for her songs, ignoring the Icelandic artist’s own work in the process. Joni Mitchell has talked about encountering a similar problem, as have Solange Knowles, M.I.A. and many others.

“I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times,” Bjork said.

5. The new grand-slam champion that took women’s tennis by surprise

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2017   Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko celebrates with the trophy
         after winning the final against Romania’s Simona Halep   Reuters / Benoit Tessier     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTS16HO7

Jelena Ostapenko celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Romania’s Simona Halep. Photo by Reuters / Benoit Tessier.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia dominated the French Open earlier this month, stunning 15,000 fans and millions of viewers worldwide.

Ostapenko defeated No. 3 Simona Halep, and expressed her gratitude toward the crowd following her win, the Associated Press reported.

“I still can’t believe I won. It was always my dream, when I was a child I was watching players here. I’m just so happy,” she said at the Court Philippe Chatrier. “I’ve just enjoyed it so much. I have no words.”

Ostapenko, 20, is now the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933, CNN pointed out. She’s also the first Latvian player in history to claim a Grand Slam championship. The last woman to win her first tour title at a major was Barbara Jordan of the U.S., who won the 1979 Australian Open.

Why it’s important

The absences of Serena Williams, who is currently pregnant, and Maria Sharapova, who was denied a wild card position after a failed drug test, have created an opening in the sport for new recruits like Ostapenko.

“We didn’t have the big names here,” tennis great Chris Evert told reporters. “But I tell you what, a star was born today, and I’ve got to say, it’s so great for women’s tennis. We need fresh, young blood.”

It’s also a sport of unpredictability, where there sometimes appears to be no clear algorithm when it comes to ranking. Higher-ranked players have won 67.9 percent of Women’s Tennis Association matches, The Economist reported. At this year’s French Open, about 62 percent of the matches were won by higher-ranked players. But since 2014, the publication says, the rate of upsets in the game have also increased.

So what’s next for Ostapenko? She now heads to the All England Club next month and will begin her season in Birmingham at the Aegon Classic, contending with eight of the world’s top 10 players.

READ MORE: 5 important stories that have nothing to do with the Russia investigations

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Otto Warmbier’s death looms over U.S.-China talks on North Korea

File photo of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier by Kyodo via Reuters

File photo of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier by Kyodo via Reuters

WASHINGTON — Otto Warmbier’s death after returning from North Korean imprisonment is stoking outrage in Washington and threatening to overshadow high-level U.S.-Chinese talks Wednesday.

President Donald Trump has been counting on China to use its economic leverage with Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian government as American concern grows over North Korea’s acceleration toward having a nuclear-tipped missile that can strike the U.S. mainland.

Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs are meeting in the U.S. capital for security talks, and North Korea will get “top billing,” according to Susan Thornton, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia. The two world powers are trying to build on “positive momentum” created when Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida in April, she said.

Wednesday’s discussions replace a sprawling strategic and economic dialogue held annually under the Obama administration. It rarely produced significant results. This year’s edition separates out the security aspects, and Secretary of State State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis are hosting Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department.

Thornton said talks would cover the South China Sea, where Beijing’s island-building and construction of possible military facilities have rattled neighbors and caused tension with Washington; U.S.-Chinese military cooperation to reduce risk of conflict; and efforts to defeat the Islamic State group. Divisive trade issues will be tackled separately at a later date.

While Trump has heaped praise on Xi for trying to contain North Korea, which counts on China for some 90 percent of its trade, the effort has delivered few results. Trump appeared to acknowledge as much in a tweet Wednesday, a day after Warmbier’s death.

“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Trump wrote.

No cause of death has been determined for Warmbier, 22, who was detained for nearly a year-and-a-half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma last week. The University of Virginia student was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group and was convicted of subversion. His family is blaming North Korea for “awful, torturous mistreatment.”

President Trump condemned the death of 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier — who was released from North Korean detention in a coma — and seemed to abandon his goal of enlisting China to pressure the regime. How does Warmbier’s tragic end affect the U.S. approach? John Yang explores what’s at stake with Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

From Capitol Hill to the White House, pressure is mounting for a tough U.S. response. The Trump administration is considering banning travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea, officials said Tuesday, and Trump declared Warmbier’s treatment a “total disgrace.”

Like past presidents, Trump is finding the U.S. has limited scope for punishing North Korea, particularly over the arrest of U.S. citizens.

A ban on Americans visiting North Korea would only slightly add to Pyongyang’s isolation and loss of revenue. The route to inflicting significant economic pain on Kim’s government remains through China.

Thornton said the U.S. will be seeking “concrete cooperation” with China on getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs and return to negotiations. Such talks are a seemingly distant goal since Kim is believed to see his weapons of mass destruction as a guarantee against invasion.

North Korea hasn’t conducted a nuclear test explosion as feared earlier this year — a possible consequence of Chinese pressure — but it has kept up its rapid pace of missile launches, drawing another U.N. Security Council resolution this month and additional sanctions.

Last week, Tillerson told a Senate hearing that China’s efforts on North Korea had been “uneven.” On Tuesday, Thornton cited Chinese restrictions on imports of North Korean coal as “notable” progress. But she said the U.S. wants more action against blacklisted North Korean companies doing business through China.

Washington has one threat it can use with Beijing: The possibility of “secondary” sanctions that go after Chinese companies doing business in North Korea. Such a move risks fraying relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

Beijing, which wants resumed U.S. negotiations with North Korea, is hoping for “positive outcomes” from Wednesday’s dialogue, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.

WATCH: Trump offers condolences to family whose son died after North Korean detainment

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Will Otto Warmbier’s death affect U.S. strategy on North Korea?

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of
         North Korea in Geneva in 2014. Photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the quiet and tragic end to the sad story of Otto Warmbier, and the implications for the United States’ dealings with his former captors in North Korea.

John Yang has that.

JOHN YANG: Speaking in the Oval Office, President Trump condemned the death of Otto Warmbier, who had been detained in North Korea for nearly a year-and-a-half.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s a total disgrace, what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen.

JOHN YANG: Mr. Trump also indirectly blamed the Obama administration for not getting him home sooner.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He should have brought home that same day. The result would have been a lot different.

JOHN YANG: The president’s spokesman said Warmbier’s death casts a shadow on Mr. Trump’s stated willingness to talk to his North Korean counterpart under the right conditions.

SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: Clearly, we’re moving further away, not closer to those conditions being enacted.

JOHN YANG: Later, the president seemed to abandon his goal of enlisting China to pressure North Korea: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried.”

North Korea’s release of the 22-year-old Warmbier has increased, not eased tensions with Pyongyang. He arrived in Ohio last week in a coma. Doctors said Warmbier suffered a severe neurological injury with extensive loss of brain tissue, likely as a result of a lack of blood to his brain.

DR. DANIEL KANTER, University of Cincinnati Health: A state of unresponsive wakefulness.

JOHN YANG: He’d been sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years hard labor for allegedly taking a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel. In a statement, Warmbier’s parents said, “The awful, torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible.”

In an interview broadcast today on CBS News, newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in joined in condemning the North.

PRESIDENT MOON JAE-IN, South Korea (through interpreter): I believe we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime.

JOHN YANG: Moon, who had campaigned on engaging North Korea, said all options are on the table.

MOON JAE-IN (through interpreter): When it comes to preemptive strike, which you mentioned, I believe that this is something we may be able to discuss at a later stage, when the threat has become even more urgent.

JOHN YANG: North Korea still holds three other Americans as prisoners.

Today, a pair of U.S. B-1B bombers, like these, flew over South Korea, just below the demilitarized zone, in a show of force.

So, what effect will the death of Otto Warmbier have on the wider, and seemingly intractable, question of how the United States should deal with North Korea? What options are left?

To probe those questions and more, we turn to veteran diplomat Kathleen Stephens. She was U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 2008 to 2011. She’s now at Stanford University. And that’s where she joins us tonight.

Ambassador Stephens, thank you.

What about that question? Is this tragic story of Otto Warmbier going to affect, have any impact on the way the United States approaches North Korea?

KATHLEEN STEPHENS, Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: Well, I certainly think it’s a reminder to us that the threat and the danger that North Korea poses, not just to the United States, but to the region and the world, goes even beyond its nuclear missile programs, which we have been so rightly focused on in recent weeks and months.

I also need to add, I myself want to just express my deepest condolences to the Warmbier family and to all the friends, and I know there are many, and family of Otto.

The treatment that he received while under North Korean custody for a year-and-a-half was appalling and outrageous. And I think the North Koreans owe a full explanation to his family and to the United States of what happened.

JOHN YANG: Does the approach, is it complicated by the fact that there are three Americans still being held?

KATHLEEN STEPHENS: Well, I think it concentrates the mind certainly of the United States, and I hope in Pyongyang as well, that this is untenable.

And I would hope that, in the coming days — and I believe this will happen — that there will be a renewed pressure and effort to win the release of these three Americans who are being held. There are others of other nationalities as well.

North Korea in an area of allowing access to foreigners who have been arrested while in North Korea, which it is obligated to do under standard diplomatic procedure, it hasn’t met those obligations, as it doesn’t meet its obligations in other areas.

It needs to do that. But it really needs to move — to stop this practice of holding, arresting and holding citizens, not allowing their representatives from their countries to have access to them, and often using them as or hoping to use them as leverage to — as hostages, essentially, and as bargaining chips.

It needs to stop. It needs to be a part of our overall approach and effort. It has been, but it needs to be reemphasized going forward that this too is part of the effort to get North Korea to live up to some minimal standards of international behavior.

JOHN YANG: Live up to some minimal standards. We have had sanctions in place for a long time. We have had people describe it as an irrational regime.

What are the real pressure points on North Korea? What can make a difference to North Korea?

KATHLEEN STEPHENS: Well, it is a very challenging question.

I think one thing that remains very important is, notwithstanding maybe some welcome realism about perhaps the limits of what China can or will do, China does remain an important actor in this, as does South Korea.

So, I think, with meetings coming up tomorrow in Washington — Secretary Tillerson and Mattis will be meeting with their Chinese counterparts. Next week, the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, will be meeting with President Trump.

Clearly, North Korea will be very much on the agenda, but, in the context of what’s happened, these are going to be even more somber meetings. And I think the effort will be to look both at better implementation of the pressure and sanctions now in effect, and also into some new ones that might bring greater pressure to get North Korea to take a different path and a path that will lead to some discussion of how it can meet its international obligations.

JOHN YANG: President Moon, of course, ran on a campaign talking about engagement with North Korea. He wanted to go to the — to pressure North Korea to the negotiating table, while President Trump talks about pressuring North Korea to get rid of its nuclear program.

What are the chances or the likelihood that these two leaders can find a common approach to North Korea when they meet here in Washington next week?

KATHLEEN STEPHENS: Well, it’s their very first meeting. They’re both very new in office, President Moon in particular.

And I think a lot is going to depend on the kind of relationship and rapport they’re able to establish with each other. President Trump established a good rapport with the Japanese prime minister, of course, with the Chinese president, Mr. Xi, although today he seemed to be a little bit disappointed in him.

So I think, one, the personal relationship is going to be important. But, two, I think it will be important for President Moon to explain the South Korean perspective. The South Koreans actually over many decades have seen thousands and thousands of their citizens abducted and held in the North, and six are being held right now just within recent months and years.

So, this is a heartfelt issue for South Korea, as well, as well as, of course, the continuing security threat of North Korea. So, they’re under no illusions about the threat. The challenge will be, as you suggest, how to harmonize these approaches and also harmonize them with China’s approach in the region, which certainly sees the need for a change in behavior in North Korea, but they’re worried about instability.

It’s not going to be easy, but having these meetings is an important first step.

JOHN YANG: Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, thanks for joining us.

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Trump: China’s pressure on North Korea hasn’t worked

File photo of President Donald Trump (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping by Carlos Barria/Reuters

File photo of President Donald Trump (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping by Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump says that he appreciates China’s efforts to exert pressure on North Korea, but “it has not worked out.”

Trump tweeted Tuesday, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”

There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

His tweet comes a day after learning that Otto Warmbier, an American student who was returned from North Korea to the U.S. in a coma last week, had died.

Trump said Tuesday that it was a “total disgrace” what happened to Warmbier, but doctors and the administration haven’t offered an explanation for the student’s condition preceding his death.

READ MORE: Trump offers condolences to family whose son died after North Korean detainment

Trump has called repeatedly on China to help exert pressure on North Korea, particularly with regard to its nuclear ambitions.

The Trump administration is considering banning travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea, officials said Tuesday, as outrage grew over the death Otto Warmbier and President Donald Trump declared it a “total disgrace.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has the authority to cut off travel to North Korea with the stroke of the pen, has been weighing such a move since late April, when American teacher Tony Kim was detained in Pyongyang, a senior State Department official said. No ban is imminent, but deliberations gained new urgency after Warmbier’s death, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal diplomatic discussions.

WATCH: Parents of U.S. student freed from North Korea speak out

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