Actions must follow China's words on North Korea, US defence secretary says

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Worldwide pressure ramped up on Pyongyang Friday as the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on 18 North Korean officials and entities.

"Such a risky act is a sign that their (U.S.) preparations for unleashing a nuclear war against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] have reached the final phase", a spokesman for North Korea's Strategic Force told the country's official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).

The United States is encouraged by China's efforts to restrain North Korea but Washington will not accept Beijing's militarisation of islands in the South China Sea, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis (pic) said.

"The Trump administration is encouraged by China's renewed commitment to work with the global community toward denuclearisation", Mattis said.

Pyongyang has launched several more ballistic missiles since then, including a short-range missile on Monday that landed in the sea off its east coast.

The resolution slapped even more United Nations sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) and condemns the regime's continued proliferation of its nuclear and ballistic program.

Haley urged all countries to break diplomatic ties with North Korea, stop illegal trade and do more to break up smuggling rings and cut off funding for the country's nuclear and missile programs.

Lieutenant General He Lei, the head of China's delegation to the summit, said the "Asia-Pacific situation is generally safe and positive" but warned of "hotspot issues" flaring up from time to time.

The resolution adopted by the council adds four entities, including banks, and 14 North Korean officials to the United Nations sanctions blacklist, meaning that they can not travel overseas and all of their assets have been frozen. "China's declared policy of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula is our policy as well, and also that of Japan and the Republic of Korea".

"This step is something that is very puzzling and deeply disappointing", Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said of the US sanctions amid battered US-Russia relations.

Moscow still believes that further confrontation with Pyongyang may have serious consequences for the region. He insisted that the United States will "still be there", noting that the Trump administration will pursue "a fresh approach" while asking for patience from regional allies. "If we speak to each other in language of ultimatums, we will never move forward from this point".

The strategic rocket force of the North Korean army, two trading firms and the Koryo Bank, linked to a party office that manages Kim's finances, were also hit by an assets freeze.

In addition to the foreign intelligence chief, the resolution imposes sanctions on officials who control the media and key government and military appointments.

In his speech, Mattis acknowledged the hard diplomacy involved in getting China to act against North Korea, a longtime trade partner that shares a border. The company would also be added to the sanctions list. "Must Stop Modernization of Nuclear Strategic Assets", North Korea said Saturday it was interested in peace, but would not surrender its nuclear weapons as a condition for de-escalating the current tensions with the USA on the Korean peninsula.

The country has repeatedly violated a United Nations ban on ballistic missile tests, doing so even as recently as earlier this week.

The commentator further rejected the claim that the deployment is a reaction to the North Korean threat, saying that "it is a joke" because Pyongyang is so far away from being able to threaten the United States by its nuclear weapons.