"I think the Chinese have a duty and an obligation to greatly press upon the North Koreans that their belligerent behavior has to come to an end," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
"And I think you?ll see progress on multilateral discussions around this over the next few days," Gibbs said.
Gibbs did not elaborate, but diplomats said that South Korean and Japanese envoys were likely to travel to Washington in the coming week for talks with the United States on the North Korean tensions.
China on Sunday proposed emergency six-nation talks on North Korea. But the United States and Japan rejected the idea, saying that talks would be pointless without signs of movement from Pyongyang.
North Korea on Tuesday boasted of running thousands of nuclear centrifuges, one week after killing four people in its first shelling of a civilian area in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.
"We remain committed to the common security of our allies in the Republic of Korea," Gibbs said, referring to South Korea by its official name.
China is the main diplomatic and economic supporter of impoverished North Korea, which has defied the world with two nuclear weapons tests since 2006.
But sensitive US cables released Monday by whistle-blower site WikiLeaks said that China doubted its own influence over Pyongyang and seemed increasingly likely to accept a North Korea absorbed by the democratic South.