Chinese diplomats have signaled that their bosses in Beijing will support a new round of United Nations-imposed sanctions against North Korea, but China will fall short of supporting a complete embargo of all fuel supplies to its erstwhile ally.

The support comes amid rising angst and concern following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, its most powerful to date:

President Trump has made pressuring China to “do more” on North Korea a priority. After Sunday’s missile test, he tweeted that Pyongyang has become a “threat and embarrassment to China”— a rather pointed critique of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Given the new developments on the Korean Peninsula, China agrees that the U.N. Security Council should respond further by taking necessary measures,” Wang [Yi], the foreign minister, told reporters. “We believe that sanctions and pressure are only half of the key to resolving the issue. The other half is dialogue and negotiation,” he added.

Russia and China are in favor of a “double suspension” deal that would see North Korea halt nuclear and missile tests if the United States and South Korea stop holding joint military exercises — a plan that the U.S. and South Korea have rejected.

 But after a Wednesday night phone call with the Chinese president, Trump struck a more conciliatory tone, suggesting that he and Xi were largely in agreement on what to do.

“I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100 percent,” Trump told reporters. “He doesn’t want to see what’s happening there either.

“We had a very, very frank and very strong phone call,” Trump continued. “President Xi would like to do something.”

Source: Washington Post

Why it’s on our radar: While there is a growing concern in Beijing over Pyongyang’s advancements towards the development of a fully functional, deployed nuclear deterrent, the Chinese will continue to walk a tightrope between Pyongyang and Washington.

It’s hard to know what Trump and Xi discussed, but it’s harder to imagine that Beijing would allow the U.S. president to talk China out of its age-old concerns regarding any military action that would unify the Korean peninsula under a democracy led by South Korea: A flood of North Korean refugees across its border and the threat of having U.S. forces on its doorstep.

See the rest of our analysis on this and other developments in this week’s Executive Intelligence Summary, due out Friday. To subscribe, click here.