US President Donald Trump said it was time for China to take decisive action against North Korea after Pyongyang's latest ballistic missile launch, urging Beijing to "end this nonsense once and for all".
"Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?" Trump said late Monday, referring to his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-Un after South Korea's military reported that a ballistic missile had come down in the Sea of Japan. The US military also confirmed the launch.
"Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer," he wrote on Twitter.
"Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!"
The missile launch, which authorities in Seoul said was fired from a site near Panghyon in North Phyongan province, came only days after Trump hosted South Korea's new leader Moon Jae-In at the White House.
Trump has been urging China - North Korea's closest diplomatic ally - to pressure the Pyongyang regime to put the brakes on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
But he recently declared that China's efforts had "not worked out," without spelling out what his administration planned to do so as a result.
Trump however told Chinese President Xi Jinping in an earlier phone call that the US military is prepared to take unilateral action against North Korea, the New York Times reported late Monday.
The Times, quoting unnamed senior administration officials, said the warning was delivered late Sunday in what the newspaper described as "a cordial but blunt" phone call.
Trump no longer believes that China will dramatically change its policy towards North Korea, officials told The Times.
A series of US moves and China's angry responses have marked a reversal from the friendly tone the two leaders struck when they met at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in April.
Trump infuriated Beijing last week by approving a $1.3 billion arms sales to Taiwan, a self-governed island that Beijing considers a breakaway province awaiting reunification.
The US administration also imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash, voiced concern about freedom in semi-autonomous Hong Kong and placed the country on a list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders.