USA urges new sanctions on NKorea and warns of catastrophe

At the same time, Trump has lauded Chinese President Xi Jinping since their meeting in Florida early this month, expressing confidence that China will try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, unseen, adjacent to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters, Friday, April 28, 2017. The U.S. wants to tighten the implementation of sanctions and build worldwide resolve to isolate North Korea so it eventually disarms. She said the USA wants "to test that hypothesis to the maximum extent we can" for a peaceful resolution.

Tillerson said China also told the USA that it had informed North Korea "that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own".

It would mark the Vinson's second operation in South Korean waters in less than two months, an unusual move that comes amid military tensions in Korea.

In an attempt to deter North Korea from more nuclear and missile testing, the USA has sent a group of American warships led by an aircraft carrier to the region.

"China's military will continue to carry out live-fire military exercises and test new military equipment in order to firmly safeguard national security and regional peace and stability".

Dean Cheng, senior research fellow with the Asian Studies Center at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that North Korean missile systems are capable of striking either Hawaii and Alaska. A joint statement from the agency heads made no specific mention of military options, though it said the US would defend itself and friends. Stepping back from suggestions of United States military action, he even offered aid to North Korea if it ends its nuclear weapons program. But he spelled out no further punitive steps his government might consider, despite Tillerson's assertions in an interview hours ahead of the council meeting that Beijing would impose sanctions of its own if North Korea conducts another nuclear test.

"We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang", Tillerson said on Fox News Channel. "I can say in terms of solving the North Korean crisis, China's efforts can't be overstated".

Speaking out yesterday, Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, Commander of US Pacific Command, said that the current crisis in the Korean Peninsula is the worst he has seen since he began serving 39 years ago.

The U.S. carrier sailed through the Tsushima Straits between Japan's southwest and South Korea, completing the exercise in the early afternoon, according to the MSDF.

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"We must levy new sanctions on DPRK entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs, and tighten those already in place", he said, using an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

He added that China appears to be working to deter North Korea, as President Donald Trump has pushed his Chinese counterpart to do.

In a separate interview with National Public Radio, Tillerson said the USA remains open to holding direct negotiations with Pyongyang.

In February, China said it was suspending for the rest of the year coal imports that are an important revenue source for North Korea.

"Their main goal is to keep the Americans from doing something insane and see if they can drag the North Koreans back to the negotiating process where they can reduce the level of tensions". The Obama administration sought to resurrect them in 2012, but a deal to provide food aid in exchange for a nuclear freeze soon collapsed.

"What is crucial today is to resume the talks", Wang told reporters.

North Korea is said to be fearing the powerful U.S. strike group but its state media publicly claimed the Communist nation's troops are ready to sink the aircraft carrier with a single strike.

Trump's remarks came as South Korea heads into a presidential poll on May 9 that will likely elect liberal frontrunner Moon Jae-in, who has said the next administration in Seoul should have the final say on THAAD.

The now president of the 15-member Security Council.