"We are constantly in touch with China and I can say that things are moving, but it is still too early to tell how far they'll move". U.S is now reaching out for help from South Korea's new president to "get us to back off and stop pressing just as hard as he is".
This month, the Trump administration prepared a series of sanctions on China amid frustration that Beijing had not acted to contain the North Korean threat, which included restrictions on small Chinese banks dealing with Pyongyang, as well as "shell" companies with links to the country's nuclear and missile programs.
At the same time, no specific preparations have been observed on the part of Washington for using force against North Korea, the expert noted.
Meantime, North Korea on Tuesday blasted comments made by Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo over the weekend at the Aspen Security Forum that the people living under the 33-year-old leader "would love to see" regime change.
In all, six sets of United Nations sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006, but two resolutions adopted past year significantly toughened the sanctions regime. Though Pompeo later denied that he was talking about removing Kim Jong Un.
"DIA and the South Koreans tend to be at the leading edge of estimates on North Korea's military programs, and that's understandable", said one of the US officials, who both agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity.
The July 4 missile test also caught South Korea's intelligence service off guard, prompting a hasty revision of forecasts, according to South Korean lawmakers who have received closed-door briefings.
"Russia has never been a supporter of dialogue by sanctions" which is a "futile approach", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in April.
"There has been alarming progress", said Joseph DeTrani, the former mission manager for North Korea for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and a former special envoy for negotiations with Pyongyang.
North Korea test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4, claiming that it can hit targets anywhere in the world.
"North Korea has no intention of abandoning its nuclear program in the current environment", she said. Kim's regime may earn US$30 million to US$50 million a year from the migrant workers, who labour in remote Russian forest camps or on construction sites, he said.
China has been boosting forces along its 880-mile border with North Korea, in fear of a regional crisis - including the remote possibility of an American attack, according to a published report on Monday. And while I commend the Trump Administration for undertaking a Ballistic Missile Defense Review, I believe it is imperative that the Administration not wait for the final result of that study before it begins to improve our missile defense posture to counter the clearly rising threat.
"We're not afraid of Trump", said Bogdanov.