DESPITE Donald Trump’s typically belligerent response to the latest nuclear test that shook North Korea yesterday morning, there is precious little the United States can do about the mounting provocations from Pyongyang.

The same is true of the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU.

The latest round of UN sanctions has had no effect, talk of a military end to the crisis is fanciful given the havoc North Korea could wreak with the push of a button, and the usual diplomatic channels do not apply when you are dealing with the world’s most secretive nation.

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Unless, of course, you are China. The Chinese authorities in Beijing hold the key to solving the North Korean issue, and it is high time Xi Jinping’s Government started putting the need to ensure global security ahead of their narrow nationalistic agenda.

China could change North Korea’s stance at a stroke if they were to pull the plug on the oil and gas that just about enables the Communist nation to function. Alternatively, they could put a stop to the flow of money, often through front businesses, that allows the North Korean dictatorship to continue to survive.

They don’t because for all that they have grown increasingly infuriated by their inability to control North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, they still prefer his provocative warmongering to the prospect of a unified Korean peninsula allied to the United States.

The relationship between the US and China is crucial to containing North Korea, and instead of fanning the flames on Twitter, Mr Trump should be assuring China that the US does not have expansionist ambitions in Korea.

Perhaps then, President Xi would feel more inclined to make a meaningful attempt to bring the escalating crisis to an end.