China’s Foreign Minister has urged North Korea to abide by UN resolutions and stop provoking “the international community’s goodwill” with missile launches and nuclear tests.
Wang Yi revealed he had an intensive conversation with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho at a regional summit in the Philippines, as he urged China’s neighbour to remain calm.
Mr Wang also called on the US and South Korea “to stop increasing tensions” and said that all sides should return to negotiations.
The revelation came hours after the UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its escalating nuclear and missile programmes.
The sanctions ban exports worth more than £770 million, including coal, iron ore, lead and seafood products – the “lifeline exports that sustain Kim Jong-un’s deadly aspirations”, according to the UK’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft.
The UN resolution also bans countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean workers – a crucial source of foreign currency for the regime.
US president Donald Trump’s national security adviser HR McMaster has stressed that it is “impossible to overstate the danger” posed by North Korea.
Mr McMaster added that Mr Trump has been “deeply briefed” on the strategy on North Korea.
The comments came as US secretary of state Rex Tillerson arrived in the Manila for the regional summit expected to focus heavily on concerns with North Korea.
Mr Tillerson has said Washington wants to talk to North Korea eventually, but thinks discussions would not be productive if Pyongyang comes with the intention of maintaining its nuclear weapons.
North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2009 to protest against international condemnation of a long-range rocket launch.
Last month, it test-launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.