All action short of military intervention should be taken against North Korea, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told a room full of Asia-Pacific leaders.
Going into the East Asia Summit, Ms Ardern said regional security would be a priority, particularly finding ways to deal with the rogue nation.
She raised it herself when speaking at the summit in the Philippines on Tuesday.
Ms Ardern said there was a particular emphasis on sanctions, one of the strongest initiatives New Zealand could be part of and encourage.
While the sanctions would likely heavily impact North Koreans but have little impact on the government regime, particularly leader Kim Jong-Un, Ms Ardern said any escalation in the situation would also affect the people.
"We've got to use the tools available to us to ultimately apply pressure to have de-escalation of the situation," she said.
Ms Ardern said she's seen suggestions of sanctions having a "huge difference" in other realms.
"We've got to use those tools we have available to us. Dialogue is also available and it's been incredibly important that we speak with one voice within this region on the issue and we have," she said.
In her speech, Ms Ardern also raised New Zealand's focus on disputes in the South China Sea and the need for a resolution based on international law.
Climate change, a common theme for her during this week-long trip in Asia, was also raised, as was the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Ms Ardern had a number of opportunities to speak briefly with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi both at APEC in Vietnam and the EAS in Manila, about the military's role and influence.
She'd earlier said it was fair the international community were raising concerns about what a top UN official said was a classic ethnic cleansing and the plight of the new refugees.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Rakhine State by counter-insurgency operations and fled to Bangladesh in the last three months.
"The general sentiment was one of friendship to Myanmar to express a willingness to support them to find a resolution and find a way for those who are now stateless to be resettled," Ms Ardern said of the conversation in Tuesday's meeting.