US seeks quick vote on N. Korea sanctions resolution
The United States on Monday circulated a resolution on sanctions against North Korea to other UN Security Council members and hopes for a vote within days, diplomats said.
The resolution condemns North Korea for staging a ballistic missile test in December and follows weeks of negotiations between the United States and China, diplomats said.
"The United States circulated the draft text today after getting agreement from China. The vote could be held Wednesday," a diplomat from the 15-member council told AFP.
China, the unpredictable North's closest ally, has opposed establishing new sanctions against Pyongyang for the December 12 rocket launch. But it has agreed to expand existing sanctions and to the formal resolution instead of a lower-level statement, diplomats said.
The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, had wanted tough new sanctions for the rocket launch, which was virtually unanimously condemned by the international community.
North Korea already faces UN sanctions for its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
Under US-China agreement, new North Korean companies and entities could be added to the sanctions list, diplomats said. Individuals could be named for sanctions for the first time, they added.
The United States and China want a resolution passed before South Korea takes over the presidency of the Security Council in February, envoys said.
US and Chinese diplomats made no immediate comment on the resolution.
The Security Council agreed on a presidential statement, with lower standing than a binding resolution, after North Korea staged a failed rocket launch in April last year.
That had already called for a tightening of existing UN sanctions.