With signs that North Korea may be preparing for a sixth nuclear test, President Donald Trump has asserted that "China is the economic lifeline" of the rogue state and can solve the problem if they wanted to.
In the meantime Vice-President Mike Pence wound up a 10-day tour of four Asian nations, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia by using the last stop to applaud the "unprecedented" steps China has taken recently in applying economic pressure, but adding they "can do more."
"Choppy" is how former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson would describe China's tightening sanctions. Speaking at the Harvard China Forum on Saturday, Paulson said "when you see this tyrant in North Korea parading weapons" and for China to be upset when South Korea brings in a missile defense system, it just "doesn't make sense."
According to Paulson, it may come down to a difference in objectives when it comes to the Korean Peninsula. "China places a bigger importance on stability, whereas the US places a bigger importance on denuclearization."
But he does see positive signs in US China engagement under Trump, adding "it is highly unusual and positive for a Chinese president to give a phone call to (the U.S.) president so soon after a summit on North Korea."