A senior Russian diplomat is warning against expanding sanctions against North Korea, saying it's necessary to focus on a political settlement.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that "the scope of sanctions already endorsed by the U.N. Security Council is such that any possibilities of expanding such measures have been exhausted."

In remarks to the Japanese and Chinese media released by the ministry on Wednesday, he bemoaned Washington's "absolute and boundless" emphasis on developing new sanctions against Pyongyang.

Ryabkov said the U.N. Security Council must now focus on a political settlement.

China and Russia have called on the U.S. to suspend annual military exercises with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang halting its missile and nuclear tests as a first step toward direct talks.