Another week, another round of UN sanctions against North Korea.
With it comes another demonstration of how adept Beijing is becoming at inching back and forth along the policy tightrope it has installed between Washington and Pyongyang.
At the same time, muttering mounts among Chinese experts and the public as to the wisdom of tightrope walking and the availability of alternatives.
To placate the United States and signal displeasure with North Korea, China voted for the latest sanctions even as it insisted on watering them down to let Kim Jong-un know that China will not let him fall.
Beijing does not believe that sanctions will force the North Korean leader to surrender his weapons.
It wants Washington to talk to Pyongyang. And it wants Pyongyang to stop nuclear and missile tests.
But neither is listening and with the North Korean tests accelerating and rhetoric on both sides escalating, the stakes are very high. The last war on the Korean peninsula pitted the US against China at a cost of millions of military and civilian lives.