American efforts to rein in North Korea have long run into one big roadblock called China, but that might be changing, reports the New York Times. New President Xi Jinping seems more receptive to working with the West to keep the North in check, as seen in Beijing's quick support of the recent UN sanctions. The development has touched off a relative frenzy of diplomacy between DC and Beijing on the subject, including a call from President Obama to Jinping, says the Times.
Another sign of the shift is that China has not objected in public or private over US moves to beef up its military presence in the region amid Pyongyang's near-daily threats. “What we have seen is a subtle change in Chinese thinking,” says Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state. Beijing seems to have concluded that it's no longer worth jeopardizing its ties to the West, and its own national security, over the whims of the North. (Read more foreign policy stories.)