A Chinese national security adviser, during a conference in Beijing on Saturday, said United States President Donald Trump’s steadily deteriorating relation with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not only increasing the risk of imminent war between the two countries, but is also dragging China into the mix.

“Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, who advises the State Council of China on diplomacy issues since February 2011, said during the conference, South China Morning Post reported. 

Shi added, given the dire circumstances, it might already be too late to avert a war with Pyongyang.

“North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator.”

Other Chinese officials present at the conference echoed Shi’s opinion. While China enjoyed much sway over its neighboring country at one point in history, they admitted times have changed for the worse and Kim’s regime is no longer entertaining the advice of its political allies.

“No matter whether there is war or peace, regretfully, China has no control, dominance or even a voice on the issue,” Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies affiliated with China’s foreign ministry, said.

Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, said it is highly likely North Korea goes on the offensive at any point between now and March 2017 – a period during which the United States would be conducting joint military drills.

“It is a highly dangerous period,” Wang said. “Northeast China should mobilize defenses for war.”

Such rhetoric from the Chinese government advisers come days after former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he believed China has a pivotal role to play in convincing North Korea to back down from their frequent threats of nuclear war.

“I met the Chinese President Xi Jinping last month as a part of a former President and former heads of State of Government. He also assured me that the Chinese Government would be faithfully implementing the reverent Security Council resolutions over North Korea sanctions."

“As a neighboring country who is taking an overwhelming share of North Korea’s external trade, China can still be the only country who can play a decisive and overwhelming role, so we really count on the Chinese continuing engagement,” he added.

Apart from engaging in a war of words with Kim, Trump also used social media to lash out at China for not making enough efforts to rein in North Korea.

A similar sentiment was conveyed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after China finally embraced new UN sanctions against North Korea.

“Each UN member state must fully implement all existing U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Tillerson said Friday at the United Nations Security Council,  Newsweek reported. 

He went on to add: “For those nations who have not done so, or who have been slow to enforce Security Council resolutions, your hesitation calls into questions whether your vote is a commitment to words only, but not actions. For countries who have not taken action, I urge you to consider your interest, your allegiances and your values in the face of this grave and global threat.”

Meanwhile, China is not willing to leave anything to fate when it comes to North Korea. Last week, a document leaked by telecom operator China Mobile, showed the Chinese government’s plans to set up five refugee camps in Jilin’s Changbai county in China. 

Around the same time, a local newspaper in Jilin published an article informing its viewers of ways to survive a nuclear attack.

“It’s natural that Jilin province is more sensitive to the situation on the Korean peninsula, given its special geographic location. It’s necessary for the provincial paper to publish information on nuclear weapons,” wrote state tabloid Global Times in an editorial.