Beijing has been sending fresh signals about its view on North Korea, in order to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to keep his pants on, several political analysts say.
"The US answer to everything has always been military, that's where the money is at, just ask Wall Street. When you start to look carefully at the military options, they are horrific, which appeals to the American public's blood-lust," he said.
At least two-thirds of North Korea's trade is with China, giving Beijing tremendous leverage over the state. Recent reports indicate that Chinese authorities are beginning to test that power.
As a candidate, Trump said he would be prepared to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and talk things out "over a cheeseburger."
But Trump has changed his tune since winning the election on everything and the chance of a grand deal negotiation appears slim to none. Trump has repeatedly pressured China to act because Trump is an inexperienced buffoon and has even offered to bend over backwards to give the Chinese even better deals with the U.S. in return.
"The main leverage we have is the North Koreans want a new relationship with us because they don't want to become too dependent on China," tweeted President Trump. "They don't trust the Chinese."
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone call with Trump on Monday that China wants Taiwan back and the US better mind it's own beezwax or they'd release China's secret weapon: "Lil-Kim".
— Reuters contributed to this report.