China, which insists on maintaining trade links with Pyongyang in areas not subject to international sanctions, will continue to tread a delicate line with its volatile neighbor, stopping short of any measures that could genuinely hurt the regime - a tactic based on China's belief that nothing will persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program. North Korea's leaders never keep promises and routinely use negotiations to buy time until they develop enough capability to be able to force us to compromise or yield to their demands.
"In my view, they have given up trying to influence North Korea", said Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a senior lecturer in international relations at King's College London.
Kerry Brown, associate fellow at Chatham House's Asia program, agreed.
Following Kim's successful long-range ballistic missile launch earlier this month, Trump revealed he was considering some "very severe things" when asked how he would deal with the hermit kingdom.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.
Reuters analyzed data at the North Korean defector website Daily NK and found the price of gasoline sold by private dealers in Pyongyang and the northern border cities of Sinuiju and Hyesan jumped to $2.18 per kg ($2.92 per liter) as of July 5, up 50 percent from $1.46 per kg on June 21.
While his relationship with Trump cools, Xi is warming to Putin. After a North Korean missile landed off the coast of Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok in May, the administration released a statement declaring: "With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased".
It is really quite simple - an insurance policy that increases the likelihood of his survival.
China's ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tankai, said this week that the figures to which Trump was responding gave a "distorted picture" by not taking into account the recent dip.
And the U.S. has shown it's prepared to act if China and other countries do not stop aiding Kim's regime. "But I don't think it's going to lead anywhere".
He said Russia also has "an extremely important role to play in dealing with the North Korean problem and we will encourage Russia to play some even greater role". In contrast, the South Korean president's executive office said it is necessary to reopen talks between South and North Korea to reunify the Korean Peninsula, citing Moon's remarks.
"The current situation is awful - the only thing worse is all the other options."
North Korea imports almost all of its oil and gas from China; most of that comes through CNPC.
Stability on the peninsula remains its primary interest.
But it's far from clear whether there will be much to show for the talks so far.
Cover: A woman in traditional dress invites customers to a North Korean restaurant on the banks of the Yalu River in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017.
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