Ahead of Donald Trump's meeting with Xi Jinping, there are signs that China is strongly squeezing North Korea's economy on the countries' shared border. Graham Mackay reports.
As the much anticipated meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping approaches, one subject is looming large: North Korea. Washington's position is clear: China needs to do more to rein in its unpredictable nuclear neighbour. Beijing says it doesn't have that kind of influence, but a recent trip by Reuters to the China-North Korea border suggests otherwise, as Reuters Sue-Lin wong explains. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REUTERS CHINA REPORTER, SUE-LIN WONG, SAYING: "There was a very strong sense on the border that China is taking action against North Korea. There's a Northeast Asia special zone slated to be built between China and North Korea with tourism and trade all included within it. But I was just up there and It was very evident that construction had slowed and they were very much behind schedule." According to signs in the border city of Nanping, around ten thousand North Koreans should be on the Chinese side building up the special economic zone right now. But in reality, it's a completely different picture. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REUTERS CHINA REPORTER, SUE-LIN WONG, SAYING: "I saw no North Korean workers, and everyone I spoke to in the area said that no one had come yet. And I was actually escorted off the site by police and military, who told me it was far too sensitive for me right now to even be reporting on something like an economic zone." Beyond the unfinished buildings and total lack of North Korean workers, an all out ban on North Korean coal imports is another clear sign of China's increasingly tough stance on Pyongyang. But it's a delicate balance. Too much punishment and Beijing could risk thousands of desperate North Koreans flooding over the border into China. That's something Xi Jinping definitely doesn't want to happen. So when it comes to talks on a North Korean solution with Trump, the Chinese leader may well keep his cards close to his chest.