But Trump's remarks about China's role in dealing with North Korea's provocations do not address the steps Beijing has already taken to cooperate with the United States on international sanctions.
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday" where the president-elect suggested the United States does not have to be bound by Beijing's view there is only "one China," Trump said the world's second-largest economy has done little to assist the United States in controlling North Korea's weapons proliferation.
"We're being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn't be doing, and frankly with not helping us at all with North Korea," Trump said. "You have North Korea. You have nuclear weapons and China could solve that problem and they're not helping us at all."
Trump's remarks are inviting speculation about whether he would pursue a tougher sanctions policy during his presidency that includes more secondary boycotts, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
In the course of his campaign the president-elect had suggested North Korea is a problem for China to solve and that the United States could place tremendous pressure on China.
China, however, has already been cooperating on tougher sanctions, including the recent United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2321, which cuts North Korea coal exports by 60 percent.
China's approval of the new ban has played a pivotal role in the agreement.
But Beijing is also worried about placing too much pressure on Pyongyang, which could result in instability, collapse and a refugee crisis at its border with North Korea.
Edwin J. Feulner, a member of the president-elect's transition team, had previously told visiting South Korean legislators additional sanctions are necessary. Feulner did not rule out secondary boycotts against third-party firms in China.
Washington, however, has already enforced embargoes against Chinese firm Hongxiang Industrial for abetting North Korea's nuclear proliferation.