BRIAN WATT: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Asia to bolster support for enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea. She's in Seoul today and Beijing tomorrow, but leaders in both of those places are kind of lukewarm about tightening the grip on Pyongyang. Ruth Kirchner has the details.

RUTH KIRCHNER: Speaking in South Korea, Secretary Rice said she doesn't want to see the crisis in the region escalate.

Meanwhile a Chinese envoy delivered a personal message from China's president to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

It's the highest-level Chinese visit since North Korea's nuclear test last week. Rice said she hopes China sent a strong message on the nuclear issue.

Both China and South Korea remain opposed to any measures that could lead to a collapse of North Korea.

Regional expert David Zweig:

DAVID ZWEIG: The whole strategy has been to try and convince the North and cushion the North and make the North feel comfortable with a gradual transformation to a more marketised economy and more open political system.

South Korea and China together account for two-thirds of North Korea's overseas trade.

I'm Ruth Kirchner for Marketplace.