Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The United States may be preparing for an investigation of trade disputes with China.
Washington is planning to open a probe into Chinese trade practices that include alleged violations of U.S. intellectual property, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The report comes at a time when the United States is growing increasingly frustrated with increased provocations from North Korea, and with Chinese efforts on sanctions against Pyongyang.
U.S. President Donald Trump stated in recent tweets China has done "nothing" for the United States in relation to North Korea, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had said in a statement China "must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step" of imposing the strongest sanctions that would stop North Korea's nuclear weapons development.
The Trump administration may also be pursuing the investigation because of concerns over China's increasing presence in key global industries, including microchips, electric cars and other technologies, according to The Times.
But any trade penalties levied on China could spike tensions between two of the world's largest economies, which could in turn hurt U.S. companies like Apple that depend heavily on China's market and labor force to remain a leader in a competitive industry.
Washington may be concerned about Beijing's policy, known as Made in China 2025, which could pave the way for the world's second-largest economy to become a leader in 10 fields of industry.
The trade investigation could contribute to already deteriorating relations between the two countries, following Chinese President Xi Jinping's reported request for a "100-day grace period" on North Korea, after the first bilateral summit.