China, Russia warn U.S. against government change in North Korea

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China's Big Four state-owned banks have stopped providing financial services to new North Korean clients, according to branch staff, amid US concerns that Beijing has not been tough enough over Pyongyang's repeated nuclear tests.

However, a USA -drafted resolution originally calling for an oil embargo on the North, a halt to its key exports of textiles and subjecting leader Kim Jong Un to a financial and travel ban, appears to have been watered down to appease Russian Federation and China, which both have veto powers, diplomats said.

Still, North Korea denounced efforts by Washington to impose new United Nations -backed sanctions against the country.

China has pressured South Korean businesses via boycotts and bans since Seoul decided previous year to deploy a US -made missile defense system as a deterrent to North Korea.

"Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime", said Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations.

"We are not looking for war".

"The forthcoming measures by DPRK (the Democratic Republic of Korea) will make the USA suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history", he said. "The choice is theirs".

However, in February, China stopped importing North Korean coal.

CNN and other media outlets have also reported on North Korea's arms trade. Tens of thousands of North Koreans work in Asia and the Middle East and send most of their earnings to the government in Pyongyang, a major source of the country's foreign exchange.

Mr Turnbull told the president of Australia's steadfast commitment to South Korea and the pair agreed the recent nuclear test was a grave provocation.

"We're convinced that diverting the gathering menace from the Korean Peninsula could be done not through further and further sanctions, but by political means", he said. Those actions, regularly dismissed as insufficient by Trump's administration, have led to public spats with Pyongyang.

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Russia's strategic concerns would, therefore, make it hard to renegotiate the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, something arms experts say would be required if a North Korean missile shield were to be fully effective.

Liu said relevant parties should resume negotiations "sooner rather than later".

China, North Korea's sole ally and main trading partner, had strongly objected to an oil embargo initially sought by the United States out of fear it would bring the North's economy to its knees.

"The Council further decided that all Member States would prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of all refined petroleum products beyond 500,000 barrels during an initial period of three months - beginning on 1 October 2017 and ending on 31 December 2017 - and exceeding 2 million barrels per year during a period of 12 months beginning on 1 January 2018 and annually thereafter".

"We have frozen their accounts, which means they can not withdraw (money)", a staff member at a Yanji branch of China Construction Bank told AFP.

But analysts were sceptical about their impact.

China, sitting on the U.N. Security Council, has backed a steady increase in financial pressure on North Korea, and Monday approved new bans on textile exports, a cap on oil imports and limits on overseas workers.

Ms Bishop denied sanctions only stirred the pot when it came to the North Korean leadership.

The reduction in oil sales to North Korea isn't expected to change Kim's calculus.

Pyongyang has staged a series of missile tests in recent months that appeared to bring much of the USA mainland into range.

South Korea said on Wednesday traces of radioactive xenon gas were confirmed to be from a North Korean nuclear test earlier this month, but it was unable to conclude whether the test had been a hydrogen bomb as Pyongyang claimed.

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