Diplomats at the United Nations say the United States has reached a deal with China on tightening international sanctions against North Korea for its December rocket launch.
The diplomats say the U.S. circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member U.N. Security Council. It could vote as early as Tuesday to punish North Korea for the launch.
They say the resolution would condemn the launch and expand existing sanctions. But it is not clear if it would add any new sanctions – a step that China, Pyongyang's only major ally, has been reluctant to accept.
Washington has been pushing Beijing to accept strong measures following the rocket launch, which was widely condemned as a disguised missile test banned under U.N. sanctions.
China, which has previously agreed to U.N. sanctions against North Korea, has said it wants the Security Council to take a “cautious” approach that will not further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Following a failed launch in April of last year, the Council was able to pass only a “presidential statement” condemning the move. But this time around, Beijing apparently has agreed to a resolution, which carries more authority.
Diplomats say any resolution likely would have the support of the other members of the 15-member Security Council.
North Korea denies that the December 12 launch was a ballistic missile test, saying it was a peaceful mission that placed a weather satellite into orbit.