Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is trying to reach out to North Korea to see if something can be done to control that country’s nuclear weapons development. President Donald Trump said Tillerson is “wasting his time.”

President Trump believes that North Korea isn’t going to move in another direction. He may be right.

Secretary Tillerson believes that the United States must try to reach some kind of agreement with North Korea to avoid a shootout. He’s determined to keep trying. North Korea so far has turned its back on serious negotiations.

The U.S. also is trying to get China on its side. The U.S. wants China to tell North Korea to “cool it.” Since China is North Korea’s chief trading partner, and the latter’s economy depends greatly on China’s purchases of coal and other items, it is in a position to wield influence. Sanctions aganst North Korea don’t seem to be working. China doesn’t want a war between the U.S. and North Korea. China knows the U.S. would win. It doesn’t want to see the U.S. gain any more stature in that part of the world.

China has said that the only way it would support North Korea in a war is if the U.S. made the first strike.

It may be that tensions between the U.S. and North Korea will wane somewhat. But with the missile arsenal the North has built up, “Rocket Man,” as Trump calls the North’s leader, has an anxious finger on the war button that he may not be able to resist holding back.