China, US agree on N Korea sanctions: sources

Reuters, UNITED NATIONS

Wed, Mar 06, 2013 - Page 1

The US and China have struck a tentative deal on a draft UN Security Council sanctions resolution that would punish North Korea for its third nuclear test, which it conducted last month, UN diplomats said on Monday.

The UN press office said separately that Russia, which holds the presidency of the 15-nation council this month, was to convene closed-door consultations on North Korea at 11am in New York yesterday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the UN diplomats said they hoped to receive the draft resolution at yesterday’s council session. They added that they would like to see the council 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 reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to confirm it had reached a deal with the US.

“We have said many times that China supports an appropriate response from the UN Security Council and have also expressed our stance that we oppose North Korea conducting its nuclear test,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) told reporters at the daily briefing in Beijing.

“At the same time, we are resolute in believing that the relevant response has to be prudent and moderate, has to prevent an escalation, be conducive to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, prevent nuclear proliferation and maintain the peace and stability of Northeast Asia,” she said.

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 council strongly condemned North Korea’s third nuclear test on Feb. 12 and vowed to take action against Pyongyang for an act denounced by all major world powers, including ally China.

Pyongyang said at the time that the test was an act of self-defense against “US hostility” and threatened stronger steps if necessary.

The North stepped up its rhetoric yestserday, threatening to scrap the truce signed in 1953 that ended a three-year conflict with the South if Seoul and Washington continued with two-month-long military drills.

The threat was attributed by the KCNA news agency to the Korean People’s Army Supreme Command spokesman. The two Koreas are still technically still at war after the 1950-1953 civil war ended in a truce rather than a treaty.

“We will completely nullify the Korean armistice,” the agency said. “The war exercise being done by the United States and the puppet South Korea is a systematic act of destruction aimed at the Korean armistice.”