China agrees more United Nations action on NK

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said pursuing further sanctions against North Korea is "useless", saying "they'd rather eat grass than give up their nuclear programme".

Putin and Moon met on the sidelines of an economic summit in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting worldwide concerns that their shared neighbour plans more weapons tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a key weekend anniversary. But, he indicated, other avenues for pressure would come first. "I have also discussed it with the Japanese prime minister many times, and as far as I know, he agrees that there is a need to find diplomatic means", Putin said.

The U.S. -drafted resolution, circulated to council members Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, would also prohibit North Korea from exporting textiles and ban all countries from hiring and paying workers from the northeast Asian nation - two key sources of foreign currency.

The U.S. wants the UN Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban its exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean labourers overseas, and to subject leader Kim Jong-un to an asset freeze and travel ban, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The comments came just hours before the USA made a formal request for a UN Security Council vote on tough new sanctions against the repressive regime.

The draft U.S. proposal calls for a total ban on supplying a range of oil products to North Korea and a ban on its textile export industry.

"Recently, high ranking French politicians startled the people by saying absurd things with regards to the DPRK's (North Korea's) successful detonation of an H-bomb for ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)", Ri said in an interview with AFP in Pyongyang on Friday.

North Korea conducted another nuclear test over the weekend.

"Hopefully, we're not going to have to use it on North Korea".

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Asian stocks tracked Wall Street's slide overnight to slip on Wednesday, while the dollar was on the defensive with tensions in the Korean peninsula showing few signs of abating.

It came as US President Donald Trump said military action against North Korea was not the "first choice" of his administration on Wednesday, edging away from his harshest threats against the regime in Pyongyang.

Japan upgraded its assessment of the North Korean test to 160 kilotons from 120 kilotons after the size of the quake it generated was revised to 6.1.

South Korean officials said they continued to monitor for radioactive fallout from the test and for signs of preparations for more activity as they pushed for a stronger global response.

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.

US President Donald Trump has urged China, North Korea's biggest ally, to do more to rein in its neighbour, which has pursued its missile and nuclear weapons programmes in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

The draft calls for a resumption of long-stalled six-party talks between North Korea and the U.S., Russia, China, South Korea and Japan with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

The long-standing objective of the USA and its allies, as well as China and Russian Federation, has been to seek the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula although the chances of realizing that goal have diminished as the North has advanced its nuclear program.

North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as USA aggression.