Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to China this week comes as both countries are reveling in the aftermath of the Singapore summit between the U.S. and North Korea.
Even though China wasn't part of the talks, the country still came out ahead thanks to President Donald Trump's vow to end U.S. military drills with South Korea. China views those drills as provocative and has called for their suspension.
China's vision of North Korean denuclearization has long been a "freeze-for-freeze" deal, which pairs North Korean steps toward denuclearization with U.S. disengagement from the region. The U.S. usually rejects that approach — but Trump's Singapore statements seem to validate it.
Trump told reporters: "I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home. We have right now 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, and I'd like to be able to bring them back home."
But the White House might soon spoil China's good mood. Trump is reportedly putting the finishing touches on a $50 billion package of tariffs targeting Chinese imports.
The sanctions package was first announced in April and was meant to punish China for co-opting U.S. tech developments. China has compiled a list of retaliatory tariffs it could levy against the U.S. in response.
The trade threats could push China further toward offering sanctions relief for North Korea, something it floated in the summit's aftermath. But Pompeo says the two nations are in lockstep on maintaining sanctions.
Pompeo said, "We have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after full denuclearization, the complete denuclearization of North Korea."
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.