North Korea has long been skilled at creating leverage from weakness – Xi and Trump are not the first to be frustrated by the strategy
In Washington, all roads to Pyongyang go through Beijing, the only capital presumed to possess the wherewithal to reach North Korea’s reclusive young dictator, Kim Jong-un, and pull him back from the nuclear brink.
Certainly, Donald Trump thinks so, persistently tweeting his complaints about Beijing’s failure to rein in its fraternal communist neighbour, and even threatening to cut off trade with China if it keeps doing business across the border.
The Chinese message to North Korea has been: you too can have an authoritarian government with a capitalist economy
You don’t have to travel far in Beijing to hear words of derision about Kim’s personality and leadership style