North Korea, Russia officials meet in Moscow to discuss cooperation

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The ministry's Mikhail Ulyanov said the country was working "behind the scenes" to find a political solution, but admitted the use of sanctions against North Korea is nearly exhausted.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova declined to give details, but said her ministry would issue a statement after the meeting.

The United States and North Korea have been at loggerheads over Pyongyang's weapons and nuclear programs and Washington's military posture against the North.

Referring to the talks, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a regular press briefing on Thursday: "I can't see that as a bad thing".

"Talks with the roving ambassador are due in Moscow", it said.

On Monday, North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said the isolated state had the right to "shoot down" U.S. planes - even if they were not in the country's airspace.

Privately, however, US officials have played down the likely effect of the Russian effort.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho accused U.S. President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country and said Pyongyang had the right to shoot down U.S. bombers, even if the warplanes were not in North Korea's airspace. RIA news service said Ulyanov described a war on the Korean Peninsula as having 'catastrophic consequences, ' and that the sanctions tool had been likely exhausted.

Trump recently tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer", after delivering a speech to the United Nations in which he called the country's supreme leader "rocket man".

"Choe stressed that it is necessary for the stop its hostile policy toward the DPRK in order to defuse tension and ensure peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region", it added. In July, she met with Burmistrov when he visited North Korea.