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North Korea's escalating nuclear provocations are putting putative ally China in an increasing bind, and may be part of a strategy to twist Beijing's arm into orchestrating direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington, analysts said. The North's Kim dynasty has repeatedly used nuclear brinkmanship over the years in a push to be taken seriously by the United States but traditionally avoided causing major embarrassment to China, its sole major ally and economic lifeline.Communist propaganda deifies Xi as an infallible father figure, but Kim's actions are puncturing the facade and exposing the Chinese leader's impotence toward the nuclear crisis on his doorstep.Shi said Kim, who has never met Xi, had become "more and more hostile towards China" after Beijing signed on to tougher new international sanctions against Pyongyang.The pressure comes at an inopportune time for Xi, who next month presides over the ruling Communists' once-every-five-years party congress, the one-party state's most consequential political gathering.
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