In an official statement on Thursday April 13, China insisted that military force would not be able to resolve the mounting tensions in the Asia Pacific over North Korea's numerous illegal missile tests, some of which have violated the territory of it neighbors, such as Japan.
Meanwhile, in an influential Chinese state newspaper, Beijing has urged North Korea to halt its provocative, and illegal, nuclear program in exchange for Chinese protection.
The dual-pronged approach by Beijing comes as a US aircraft carrier is steaming towards the Korean peninsula. A serious show of military strength by the US, the move is being seen as physical evidence that US President Trump is running out patience towards the rogue state.
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
Trump's public statements — more often than not via his Twitter page — have been bullish towards both North Korea and China — who he has accused multiple times, of not doing enough to rein in Kim Jong-un's many violations of international law.
Some US hawks have praised the president's decision at home, but US ally, South Korea, has publicly stated that they believe the US should consult South Korea before making any preemptive strike against the North.
There are fears that President Trump may be tempted down the line of further unilateral military action, following the widespread praise his administration received following last week's US strike in Syria.
However, North Korea heavily relies on China as its sole benefactor, and analysts suggest that any actions taken solely by the US, without China's help, are unlikely to succeed.
The SEAL Team 6, also known as the Special Warfare Development Group, killed the Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan in May 2011
Some British media outlets have published speculative reports that SEAL Team 6, the group of Navy SEALS behind the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, are training to "incapacitate" Kim Jong-un, should Presidnt Trump wish to do so.
Such a flagrant disregard for international law and sovereignty would likely severely erode US-China relations.
However, there has been some indication of cooperation between both countries this week.
Since Pyongyang tested a new intermediate-range missile in mid-February 2017, China banned all imports of coal from North Korea.
On Tuesday 11 April, President Trump hailed the Chinese action as a "big step" towards cracking down on the rogue state.
"We have a very big problem in North Korea. And, as I said, I really think that China is going to try very hard, and has already started," Trump said.
"A lot of the coal boats have already been turned back — you saw that yesterday and today — they've been turned back," he said. "The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they've turned back the boats. That's a big step, and they have many other steps that I know about."