The two superpowers have a hard time discussing North Korea, however, because they have conflicting goals for the peninsula. Beijing wants to maintain the status quo, thereby avoiding a collapse of the north that could trigger refugee problems or a unified Korea that tilts toward the United States.
The U.S. administration, on the other hand, has said openly that it opposes maintaining the current situation, which has essentially given North Korea decades to continue advancing its missile technology and nuclear weapons.
“The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this month in South Korea. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures. All options are on the table. North Korea must understand that the only path to a secure, economically-prosperous future is to abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Also this year, China retaliated against U.S. ally South Korea for allowing the U.S. deployment of a missile defense system in the country. Beijing has impeded individual South Korean firms from doing business in China.
“The best outcome would be the U.S. and China have some clear and coherent policy” on how to deal with North Korea, said Charles Freeman, III, managing director at consulting firm Bower Group Asia and former assistant U.S. trade representative for China affairs.
“I don’t know that that’s possible or likely. I’m afraid we — China and the U.S. — are still at the stage of talking past each other on” North Korea, he said.
No date has been officially announced for the meeting between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies.
On Monday, the the Palm Beach Post reported that Police Chief Sean Scheller of Lantana, Florida, said that Xi is scheduled to visit from April 6 to 7. A senior state department official also confirmed the rough timing of Xi’s visit in a press briefing Tuesday.
The White House did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment.