In the Chinese border town of Hunchun, garment factories gladly employ squads of North Koreans, who are valued as skilled and dutiful workers. Live crab from the North wriggle in huge tanks in the fish market. Informal bankers promise to deliver the equivalent of thousands of dollars in Chinese currency to North Koreans across the border in a matter of hours.
In a diplomatic gamble, President Trump is seeking to enlist China as a peacemaker in the bristling nuclear-edged dispute with North Korea at the very moment he plans to ratchet up conflict with Beijing over trade issues that have animated his political rise.
Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday not to test American resolve, but he also raised the possibility that the Trump administration could pursue talks. The message, delivered by Mr. Pence on a visit to South Korea that included a stop at the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula, showed that the administration, while talking tough, was not ruling out negotiations.