The risky guessing game over Trump's 'red line' on North Korea

And at least until Wednesday, Trump had increasingly emphasized military responses.

But speaking at the closure of the BRICs summit in Beijing - which hosted the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa - Putin said that while Russian Federation condemned North Korea's latest actions, imposing any kind of sanctions would be "useless and ineffective".

China objects to both the military drills and the deployment in South Korea of an advanced US missile defence system that has a radar that can see deep into Chinese territory.

Asked about possible U.S. military action, the president said: "That's not our first choice, but we'll see what happens".

"So we think that this military hysteria will not lead to good results". The North followed its two tests of Hwasong-14 ICBMs, which, when perfected, could target large parts of the United States, by threatening to launch a salvo of Hwasong-12 intermediate range missiles toward the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in August.

"President Xi would like to do something".

North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as US aggression.

PRESSURE COOKER "Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or [to] our allies will be met with a massive military response - a response both effective and overwhelming", Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters outside the White House in Washington on September 3.

Asked by reporters what he thought about the possibility of President Trump being impeached, Putin also quipped that Trump is "not my bride, and I am not his groom".

"In a lot cases with (South) Korea, it's: 'We want you to do something to reassure us, ' and sometimes the specifics don't matter", he told AFP.

During a call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump also gave "conceptual approval" for Seoul to buy billions of dollars of weapons from the US, Reuters reported.

"China doesn't have a great relationship with North Korea ... but they do have a peace and friendship treaty that goes back to 1961", said the former envoy, in reference to The Sino-North Korean Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.

The Japanese premier noted the two countries are working closely together to fend off the North's threats.

Mogherini adds: "We believe that more diplomatic pressure, more economic pressure in this respect could make a difference". China supplies most of North Korea's oil with roughly 500,000 tons of crude oil and 200,000 tons of oil products annually, followed by Russian Federation with 40,000 tons of crude oil.

"Saddam Hussein rejected the production of weapons of mass destruction, but even under that pretense, he was destroyed and members of his family were killed", Putin said.

He said that, as an incentive to freeze its weapons programmes, North Korea was being offered the prospect of an end to sanctions.

US President Donald Trump criticized Moon this week for seeking "appeasement" with Pyongyang, while in August, Moon issued a forceful statement rebuking Trump's threats of "fire and fury" against North Korea, saying that any military actions on the Korean Peninsula must be made in consultation and with agreement from Seoul.

"We're going to continue our peaceful pressure campaign as I have described it, working with allies, working with China as well to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table", he said in the August 27 interview. "As never before everyone should show restraint and refrain from steps leading to escalation and tensions".

President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States is considering cutting off trade with any country that maintains economic ties with North Korea.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned North Korea's latest nuclear test as a "flagrant violation" of global conventions, but also said there can only be a "diplomatic and peaceful solution" of the crisis.

Experts worry such a move would heighten the risk of a mishap or goad North Korea into conducting a first strike. His government has taken a harder stance as the North continued its torrid pace of weapons tests. The White House said in a statement at the time that their relationship was "extremely close" and "will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem".

The South's military exercises on Monday involved F-15 fighter jets and land-based ballistic missiles simulating an attack on North Korea's nuclear test site to "strongly warn" Pyongyang over the recent detonation.

  • Leroy Wright