The supposedly autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong last month declined a scheduled port visit by U.S. Navy ship, and a Chinese admiral canceled a planned visit to the U.S. Just last week, China pulled out of a planned top-level defense meeting.
In a more upbeat note, Pyongyang's state media said on Monday Kim lauded his talks with Pompeo, where Kim "explained in detail the proposals for solving the denuclearization issue". "We demand that the USA side stop this kind of mistaken action".
Wang also urged the United States to stop selling arms to Taiwan and to cut off official visits and military ties with the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
Pompeo said at the start of his talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Washington has a "fundamental disagreement" and "great concerns" about Chinese actions and looked forward to discussing them.
He also expressed gratitude towards Trump for making a honest effort to implement the agreements that were made in their previous summit in June.
The KCNA said that Kim explained in detail the "proposals" meant to resolve the denuclearization issue and other matters, adding that the leader and Pompeo also exchanged "constructive" views on relevant matters. So if President Trump is going to strike a deal with North Korea, this is when he's going to get the best terms.
Kim told his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at a summit last month that he would "ardently welcome the pope if he visits Pyongyang", according to a spokesman for the presidential Blue House.
According to the former official, the North Korean diplomats told him that denuclearization for them refers to a process by which the US also reduces its nuclear weapons, possibly worldwide.
At least, a USA official traveling with Pompeo said, the visit to North Korea went better than Pompeo's previous trip, which ended with a North Korean statement accusing him of making "gangster-like" demands.
Pompeo and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlighted the schism after the chief USA diplomat arrived in Beijing on the final leg of an Asian trip focused on North Korea's nuclear issue.
When asked for a date on the inspection, Pompeo responded, "As soon as we get it logistically worked out".
The trade war between China and the USA is however being seen as a barrier to co-operation in the North Korean crisis.
Although freedom of religion is protected under North Korea's constitution, in practice worship is tightly controlled and limited to state-run institutions. Beijing is Pyongyang's biggest global benefactor and U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that his trade war with China was leading the country to relax pressure on the regime.
The challenge for the US remains stark: American administrations for decades have been stymied by North Korean intransigence on its nuclear program, and the rapport between Trump and Kim hasn't resolved that issue. USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.
"I know that you would like to discuss the North Korea issue and other relational issues with me on this visit", Wang said.