President Donald Trump has made it very clear that when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, one topic will tower above the rest: North Korea’s nuclear posturing. But Trump, whose administration has gone further than any before it in stressing the potential for a military strike on North Korea, may be running out of time to determine North Korea’s fate on his own terms.

As North Korea continues to test nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, the US nears a “point of no return,” Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis firm, told Business Insider. Essentially, once North Korea’s military perfects an intercontinental ballistic missile that can strike the US mainland, the US would no longer be able to launch a preemptive military attack without fear of casualties at home, and it may then consider recognizing North Korea’s Kim Jong Un for the first time as a legitimate world leader. MORE