During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, the United States sought meaningful progress in the effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but was met instead with a reminder of why China and Russia often find themselves aligned with despotic regimes like Kim Jong Un’s in the eyes of the Western World.

Despite a warming tone between U.S. and Chinese officials since President Trump’s meeting with China’s President Xi weeks ago, the two nations found themselves at odds as to how to effectively move forward with plans to pressure North Korea into relinquishing their nuclear arsenal and arresting any further development of long-range ballistic missiles intended to carry a nuclear payload to targets on the American mainland.

“The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the 15-member council.  China provides North Korea with the vast majority of its oil imports and accounts for an estimated ninety percent of North Korea’s import and export markets – making them one, if not the, only nation on the planet with economic leverage that may be sufficient to dissuade Kim.  As a result, the Trump White House has made Chinese pressure an important part of its strategy on North Korea.

“It is necessary to put aside the debate over who should take the first step and stop arguing who is right and who is wrong,” Wang told the council. “Now is the time to seriously consider resuming talks.”