In the course of an interaction with a section of the media in his Oval Office before his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump admitted that the chance of a major conflict with North Korea cannot be ruled out. He revealed that he was all for a diplomatic solution but does not rule out possibilities of a major confrontation if the worst comes to the worst.

The threat of North Korea

Sky News reports that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea is one of the biggest challenges that the Trump administration is faced with because, in the opinion of experts, Pyongyang could create a nuclear missile that could target the United States probably by the 2020s.

The signs are ominous and it will depend on how best China can assist the U.S. to evolve a working formula.

Donald Trump feels Chinese President Xi Jinping is his trump card and could help to solve the long pending issue. Trump was impressed by Xi Jinping when the two met in Florida in April for the first time and is all praises for the Chinese President who is equally keen to arrive at a solution.

How China is playing its cards?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has provided an insight into the actions that China has taken or intends to take. North Korea is a longstanding ally of China and it has, apparently, warned its ally that it could face Chinse sanctions if it goes ahead with another nuclear test.

This, according to Rex Tillerson, is the toughest threat of Beijing against Pyongyang but he did not elaborate on what the nature of the sanctions would be.

In order to show it means business, China had banned import of coal from North Korea in February and coal happens to be the most vital export of Pyongyang. Obviously, that would have had a direct impact on the economy of North Korea.

There is a thinking that China could cut down on the shipment of oil to that country and that could also hurt.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had previously called for dialogues between North Korea and the United States and had suggested that both the sides take necessary steps to deescalate tension in the region. He had suggested that Kim Jong Un should stop the missile testing and President Donald Trump should suspend the joint military exercises with South Korea.

However, the suggestions have yet to be accepted. The impression that one gets is that both the sides want to stick to their stands and are waiting to see who bats the eyelid first. Needless to say, the situation is tense like the calm before a storm and the future is uncertain – anything can happen.