North Korea says nuclear arms aimed only at US

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Wang made the statement here on the sidelines of a series of foreign ministers' meetings, in response to a question regarding the new UN Security Council resolution over North Korea's testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, Xinhua news agency reported.

A thriving trade in seafood across the Yalu River that separates China from North Korea has dramatically slowed, traders said, although there is still almost a month to go for a United Nations deadline to tighten sanctions on Pyongyang as punishment for its missile tests.

All this as the Trump administration continues to press leaders in Asia for more action against North Korea just days after the United Nations enacted its strongest sanctions yet against Pyongyang. "Very big financial impact!"

The U.S. -drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea's neighbor and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs. "With his approval ratings falling even with his base, Trump is trapped between the realities of dealing with China and his campaign promises to get tough on trade".

"The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches", said Mr Tillerson, adding that "other means of communications" were open to Pyongyang. North Korea's Rodong Sinmun news website published a scathing commentary dismissing the sanctions as "cooked up by the US", adding that "the USA mainland is on the crossroads of life and death".

"We affirm that we'll never place our nuclear and ballistic missiles programme on the negotiating table, and won't budge an inch on strengthening nuclear armament".

North Korea has launched more than a dozen test missiles this year.

Despite the obvious escalation by North Korea's launching of a missile that could reach American cities, China appeared to dismiss the launches.

Within the framework of the resolution, the United Nations members would not be available to open joint ventures or cooperative entities with North Korean entities or individuals, as well as not to increase the number of North Korean workers already engaged in the projects on the territories of the member states.

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Speaking in Manila on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi acknowledged that China would bear the brunt of the economic pain from the resolution, but was ready to fully enforce it nonetheless.

Having failed to persuade its Southeast Asian allies not to invite Pyongyang to the forum, U.S. officials also want to use the platform to remind Kim Jong-Un's regime of its diplomatic isolation.

But Tillerson also has pointedly stated several times that the United States does not seek regime change or a rapid reunification of the two Koreas, which have been in a state of suspended hostility since an armistice was declared in 1953.

Countries worldwide are responding, cutting back on North Korean guest worker programs, flights and diplomatic missions, USA officials say.

There is no pro-China way of spinning this: The Chinese, seen in some circles as an unstoppable behemoth, proved to be a paper tiger on the issue of the North Korea in the face of the tough stance shown by Trump and his administration.

At the ASEAN meeting, Tillerson also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines, their first encounter since new US sanctions on Russia were approved overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law grudgingly by Trump.

North Korea said the sanctions infringed its sovereignty and it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any US military action. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills. These block North Korean sales of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood.

On Monday, Tillerson is scheduled to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and will likely raise the issue of human rights in the country where a brutal crackdown on drugs has left more than 7,000 dead, Thornton said last week.

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