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"North Korea economic warfare works", Mnuchin said.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, "We are facing not a regional but a global threat, not a virtual but an immediate threat, not a serious but an existential threat".

"But I also think that for every nuclear aspirant there is a unique set of incentives and disincentives to work from", he told CNN.

North Korean hackers have mounted attacks on at least three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges since May, security researcher FireEye said in a report Monday.

Hackers tied to North Korea are also suspected of carrying out a series of attacks on global banks that came to light past year. Even before the latest escalating cycle of tension, the war of words between Donald Trump's "fire and fury" rhetoric and Kim Jong Un's one-upping responses had the world on edge.

Guterres welcomed the council's "firm action" to send a clear message to North Korea that it must comply with its worldwide obligations, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. On the other hand, comprehensive sanctions, as were applied to Iran, have not yet been tried in the case of North Korea.

At the same time, muttering mounts among Chinese experts and the public as to the wisdom of tightrope walking and the availability of alternatives. USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson has called on the worldwide community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers, who earn between $1.5 billion and $2.3 billion a year-much of which is sent back to the regime.

Instead, annual crude oil supplies are capped at current levels - China is believed to supply around four million barrels a year through a pipeline, while deliveries of refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel are limited to two million barrels a year.

Some China-based academics say Beijing's policy has enabled North Korea's nuclear buildup. China is North Korea's main ally and by far its biggest trading partner, including for oil shipments.

Beijing's unease was apparent as early as 2012, but it intensified the following year when Kim executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who had been one of the major intermediaries between the two countries during the rule of the North Korean leader's father, Kim Jong-il.

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The draft, seen by Reuters on Sunday, no longer proposes blacklisting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

"The textile sanctions actually might have more impact, as they are probably a good source of value-added income - value added by people you don't have to pay much - for the regime", he said.

The US, however, is believed to have compromised on these demands to ensure support from China and Russian Federation. North Korea announced the move even as food aid was slated to arrive to feed desperately hungry North Koreans. "It remains on the table at the Security Council and we will insist on it being considered". An isolated and paranoid Pyongyang is likely to view most any US military action as the start of regime change and respond accordingly.

"Your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek", he said.

More modifications are inevitable and it's unclear if a vote will take place on Monday as the United States has sought, the diplomat said. Pyongyang's nuclear weapons were its guarantee that the regime would survive any existential threats. That has have failed to stop its progress toward developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could soon range the American mainland.

On one hand an unpredictable United States president whose policy seems to shift from tweet to tweet and day to day.

Despite deep frustration with Kim Jong-un, North Korea is a Chinese neighbour and ally, a fellow Leninist state with a shared victim narrative about the past and a shared ambition for the future to remove the U.S. presence in North East Asia. He expressed hope that the United States will pledge not to seek regime change or North Korea's collapse.

It wants Washington to talk to Pyongyang.

Washington has dangled the prospect of military action in the North, and threatened to cut economic ties with countries that continue to trade with the it - around 90 percent of the North's external commerce is with China.


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