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"There was a hint that in this situation that this natural pause in the US-South Korean exercises could have been used by Pyongyang to avoid disturbing peace, as well, and conditions could be created for starting a dialogue", the foreign minister said.

Russian Federation and China have proposed a roadmap for settling the Korean crisis through a transition to negotiations, which implies rejection of any actions that fuel tensions. "It is unavoidable and North Korea deserves it, particularly given that its development of the Hwasong-15 [missile], raises the threat level toward the worldwide community and the United States", said Zhao Tong, a fellow at the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

"Then, all of a sudden, two weeks later after the Americans had sent us a signal, they announced extra drills, that is not in the spring but in October and then in November", he continued.

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed a Chinese diplomatic effort to rein in North Korea's weapons program as a failure on Thursday, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Beijing was doing a lot, but could do more to limit oil supplies to Pyongyang. China is North Korea's neighbor and its sole major trading partner.

North Korean-owned businesses such as the Chilbosan Hotel in Shenyang, the biggest city in northeastern China, face an uncertain future as United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang-owned overseas businesses loom. Such discussions have always been off-limits for Beijing, which fought on North Korea's side against the United States in the 1950-53 Korean war and remains its treaty ally.

For its part, China's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it was still focused on denuclearization and getting all sides back to the negotiating table.

However, Tillerson may not remain in his job long, with disagreements with Trump over North Korea being one factor.

An article in the Communist Party-backed Global Times urged the United States to take what it called a more temperate approach. "We said we appreciated the stance and were working with Pyongyang". "All the CSTO members support the resolution of the UN Security Council".

"Any kind of economic sanctions or trade embargoes or things like that should be imposed and should be very robust", Pinkston said. "We need to do it for third party observers as well".

A woman who answered the phone at the North Korean consulate in Shenyang said she didn't know what would happen to North Korean businesses and joint ventures in China once United Nations sanctions kicked in.

Staff at the reception desk at the Chilbosan, who confirmed the hotel was North Korean-owned, said they had no plans to close because of the sanctions.