U.S., China in tentative deal on U.N. N.Korea sanctions draft: envoys
By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States and China have struck a tentative deal on a draft U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution that would punish North Korea for its third nuclear test last month, U.N. diplomats said on Monday.
Separately, the U.N. press office announced that Russia, which holds the presidency of the 15-nation Security Council this month, will convene closed-door consultations on North Korea at 11:00 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) in New York on Tuesday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the U.N. diplomats said they hoped to receive the draft resolution at Tuesday's council session. They added that they hope the council will vote on the resolution by the end of this week.
"I hope to see a draft tomorrow perhaps, but you know it's up to the Americans," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The details of the draft were not immediately available.
Council diplomats have said that they would like to strengthen the provisions in previous sanctions resolutions adopted after North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, above all those related to the inspection and seizure of shipments of banned items and toughening financial restrictions.
The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned North Korea's third nuclear test on February 12 and vowed to take action against Pyongyang for an act that all major world powers, including traditional ally China, denounced.
Pyongyang said at the time that the test was an act of self-defense against "U.S. hostility" and threatened stronger steps if necessary.
In January the Security Council passed a resolution expanding U.N. sanctions against North Korea due to its December rocket launch and warned Pyongyang against further launches or nuclear tests. North Korea responded by threatening a new atomic detonation, which it then carried out the following month.
North Korea's previous nuclear tests had prompted the Security Council to impose sanctions that include a ban on the import of nuclear and missile technology, an arms embargo and a ban on luxury goods imports.
There are 17 North Korean entities, including banks and trading companies, on the U.N. blacklist, and nine individuals - all linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. U.N. diplomats say many more entities and individuals could be subject to international asset freezes and travel bans.
Beijing has supported all previous sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang but only after working hard to dilute proposed measures in negotiations on the texts. It has been concerned that tougher sanctions could further weaken the North's economy and prompt refugees to flood into China.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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