>> China's getting tough with its neighbor, slamming the door on North Korea's big cross border export, coal. It's Beijing's way of saying enough is enough after Pyongyang's latest missile test. According to experts, China could squeeze the country a lot harder, stopping all trade, including oil and food, and banning flights and financial transactions.
But it hasn't. Reuters' Ben Blanchard explains why.>> China's big fear has always been that if it pushes North Korea too far, or if it cuts North Korea off completely, then North Korea can simply collapse, unleashing a wave of very destabilizing refugees up into China's northeast. There's also another fear, of course, that maybe one day North Korea's missiles that are now aimed really at Tokyo, or Seoul, or Los Angeles, could in fact, one day end up being pointed at China.
That really is a nightmare scenario for China, seeing its erstwhile ally, perhaps, really going bad and firing off a nuclear bomb at China. China is considered North Korea's last real ally, which is why Donald Trump says it should be doing more to bring its neighbor in line. But according to Beijing, it's Washington's job to hammer things out with Pyongyang one on one.
>> And that's always really been China's mantra when it comes to North Korea. That at the end of the day, ultimately, this is a problem between North Korea and the United States. Sanctions, military threats, everything like that will not help the problem. The only thing that will help the problem is direct talks between North Korea and the United States.
And China has said repeatedly, we are willing, we are happy to play a mediation role in this regard.>> Experts say China's coal move may prove painful enough to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table. Meanwhile, relations between the two former friends continue to sour. As leader Kim Jong-un pursues his nuclear dream, he's still yet to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.