North Korean leader Kim Jong-un praised the "perfect success" of the country's sixth and largest nuclear test and urged further weapons development, according to state media, in the face of a USA drive for tough new sanctions.
All this is unfolding as Russia's relations with Washington have plummeted amid allegations of interference in the U.S. elections, sanctions and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.
President Donald Trump is also reportedly exploring a wide range of options the USA can take unilaterally if the Security Council fails to adopt the proposed sanctions Monday.
The panel of experts, which consists of eight members, is also reportedly probing the presence of North Koreans in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Africa, and "their involvement in prohibited activities".
The agency cited United Nations customs data showing that China reported sending 6,000 barrels a day of oil products to North Korea, which it said is mostly gasoline and diesel fuel vital to the country's agriculture, transportation and military sectors.
USA officials declined to discuss operational planning but acknowledge no existing plan for a pre-emptive attack could promise to prevent a brutal counterattack by North Korea, which has thousands of artillery pieces and rockets trained on Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Almost 80 per cent went to China.
The Pyongyang Metro is equipped with large blast doors and is deep enough to protect residents from nuclear blasts, said Pak Song Il, a North Korean official who acted as Osnos' handler during the trip. "And the military would say, 'Who cares?' As long as the United States is destroyed, then we are all starting from the same line again'".
"North Korea needs to realise that a reckless challenge against global peace will only bring about even stronger worldwide sanctions against it", the Blue House said.
"If our participation in these talks is desired, I will immediately say yes", Merkel said.
"The US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an "endless loop" on the Korean peninsula where "nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests", Xinhua said". At the time, North Korea said that Qaddafi's fall was "a grave lesson" that persuading other nations to give up weapons was "an invasion tactic".
The new sanctions against North Korea include a ban on the country's textile exports and a cap on imports of crude oil.
According to the German Foreign Office, there have been no high-level visits to North Korea by German government delegations or trips to Germany by North Koreans at the ministerial level.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, following his meeting with President Putin in Vladivostok yesterday, said although previous projects between Russian Federation and South Korea had not been developed, "we made a decision to develop the projects that may be implemented in the near future, primarily the projects in the Far East".
Ahead of the vote, North Korea warned the United States that it would pay a "due price" if harsh sanctions were passed by the Security Council.
"The world will witness how the DPRK tames the USA gangsters by taking (a) series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged".
Even as Trump has insisted now is not the time to talk to North Korea, senior members of his administration have made clear the door to a diplomatic solution remains open, especially given the USA assessment that any pre-emptive attack would unleash massive North Korean retaliation.
Chinese officials have privately expressed fears that an oil embargo could risk causing massive instability in its neighbour.
North Korea has an army of 1.1 million personnel, in addition to 4,300 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, 70 submarines, 300 helicopters and 1,300-plus aircraft.
"North Korea can't defeat (the United States), so I hope it changes its way".
South Korea is on alert as it believes North Korea might launch a new missile over the weekend.