By Dave Clark
Washington is scrambling to develop a new strategy to counter North Korea's aggressive nuclear weapon and missile programs, but tougher sanctions could provoke a diplomatic clash with China.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit the United States' frontline allies South Korea and Japan next week before heading on to great power rival China to discuss the mounting crisis.
Kim Jong-Un's regime is testing a new ballistic missile that could threaten US bases and cities in the Pacific rim, and rocket salvo tactics that could overwhelm missile defense systems.
Most observers see China as the only power with the leverage to get its isolated neighbor to stand down, and existing United Nations-backed sanctions have had little effect so far.
The crisis is the first major security challenge of Donald Trump's presidency, and the Pentagon has already provoked China's ire by deploying an advanced anti-missile system to South Korea.
Now, other options are being considered, and the hawkish wing of the Washington foreign policy community is pushing for measures that would hurt Chinese banks that work with Pyongyang.
Read the full story at SpaceDaily