President Donald Trump has claimed his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping will help rein in North Korea, but the senseless death of Wambier, who died after being brought home, has stirred Trump's rhetoric.
Spicer was replying to reporter's questions about the US response to the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who spent 17 months in detention in North Korea and died days after he was returned to the U.S.by Pyongyang while in a coma.
Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that the USA government should not be responsible for Americans who are "stupid" enough to still want to travel to North Korea, especially in light of recent events.
The State Department said the dialogue will focus on ways to increase pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, but also cover such areas as counter-terrorism and territorial rivalries in the strategic South China Sea.
"We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained".
Since coming to office, Trump has tried to get Beijing to put pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Trump has praised Xi for trying to contain North Korea, which counts on China for 90 percent of its trade, but the effort has delivered few results.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will host China's top foreign policy official and chief of joint staff of the military at the State Department today, where tougher sanctions on North Korea is expected to be a top subject.
China understands that the USA regards North Korea as "our top security threat", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Washington, DC on Wednesday.
Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. "And obviously, we hope that those discussions with China are productive and continue to move us forward", he said. The U.S.is pressing Pyongyang to halt its nuclear weapons development and urging China and other countries to starve the North of funding for the program.
On Monday, the 22-year-old Warmbier died in a Cincinnati hospital, days after his medical evacuation home, the victim of his treatment at the hands of North Korea.
On June 20, a US official said USA spy satellites had detected movements at north Korea's nuclear test site near a tunnel entrance.