North Korea pledges 'powerful counter measures' against US-backed sanctions

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in addresses a plenary session titled

CHINA yesterday agreed that the United Nations should take more action against North Korea after its latest nuclear test, while also pushing for dialogue to help resolve the stand-off.

The draft resolution includes a full ban on exports of oil to North Korea, a full ban on textile imports from North Korea, a ban on North Korean laborers generating earnings overseas, and the asset freeze, which will also target members of the ruling worker's party, the diplomat said, calling it a "hard-hitting, ambitious resolution".

US officials said an offer to negotiate with North Korea remains on the table, but Trump has repeatedly discounted the value of beginning another effort to talk North Korea out of its arsenal.

Mr Putin said he believes US President Donald Trump's administration is willing to defuse tensions over North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The sanctions would stop all oil and natural gas exports and freeze the government's foreign financial assets.

The official, who was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the administration, said the United States remains focused on building global pressure on North Korea rather than seeking talks.

The US has accused North Korea of "begging for war" and repeatedly urged China to step up pressure against its neighbour.

Mr Trump is to speak on Wednesday with China's president.

Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed in a phone call on Wednesday to "take further action, with the goal of achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", the White House said.

China - the main economic lifeline for North Korea - has always been hesitant to completely cut off the crude oil supply to North Korea, anxious that economic instability could bring a flood of refugees to the Chinese border and the potential fall of its ally North Korea to US ally South Korea.

"It is obvious that the Korean problems can not be settled with sanctions and pressure alone", Putin said. "The other half is dialogue and negotiation".

After Kim's pariah regime claimed it carried out a hydrogen bomb test over the weekend, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States would be seeking a vote at the council on new sanctions on September 11.

"I wouldn't read too much into the absence of an assertion" that North Korea must renounce its nuclear weapons, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss some aspects of the evolving USA policy toward North Korea.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he had an executive order ready for President Donald Trump to sign that would impose sanctions on any country that trades with North Korea, if the United Nations did not put new sanctions on it.

A senior administration official downplayed Trump's remarks afterward, saying Trump had not meant to signal he would accept North Korea as a nuclear state. The two leaders had a "very, very frank and very strong call", he added.

Earlier, the Pentagon said US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had reassured his South Korean counterpart of the "iron-clad" US commitment to defend the American ally. At one point, he warned of "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if North Korea continued its threats.

China, which is the North's biggest diplomatic and economic supporter, is seen as key to efforts to convince Pyongyang to abandon its weapons programme.

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