North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un attends a target-striking contest by the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this undated photo, released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), April 13, 2017. REUTERS
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Military force cannot resolve tension over North Korea, China said Thursday, while an influential Chinese newspaper urged the North to halt its nuclear program in exchange for Chinese protection.A Washington-based think tank that monitors North Korea, 38 North, said satellite images Wednesday showed activity around the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the east coast that indicated it was ready for a new test.An influential state-backed Chinese newspaper said the best option for North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, was to give up its nuclear program, and China would protect it if it did.U.S. officials have told Reuters that an oil embargo is among tougher sanctions Washington could pursue to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.China, which supplies most of North Korea's crude, no longer reports its oil shipments to the country, but according to South Korean data supplies it with roughly 500,000 tons of crude oil annually.Analysts said that the impact of a full oil embargo on Pyongyang would be so damaging that China, which opposes any measures that could fuel instability in North Korea, would be unlikely to take that step or agree to such a measure in the United Nations Security Council, where it has a veto as a permanent member.
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