/

U.S., China near deal on North Korea sanctions

Kyodo

The United States and China reached a broad agreement Friday on what action the United Nations Security Council should take to step up sanctions against North Korea following its rocket launch last month that violated a council resolution, diplomats said.

The two key members addressing the issue, however, have apparently yet to settle a number of points, including whether the UNSC should issue a resolution or a weaker presidential statement.

Last-minute contact is still being made between the parties, with the aim of having the council adopt an action this week, the diplomats said.

Once Beijing and Washington reach a full agreement, a draft document is expected to be circulated among all of the other council members before it is put to a vote.

China was reluctant to endorse stronger sanctions against its ally North Korea but appears to have been persuaded into accommodating them.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told state-run RIA Novsti news agency Friday that the document could be adopted “early next week.”

The North Korean launch breached a Security Council resolution and “so the council has to respond,” the news agency quoted the envoy as saying. “I expect (Russia) to support it,” he added.

Kim Sook, South Korea’s U.N. ambassador, told reporters Friday that several days will be needed before a draft is worked out.

The news came as The New York Times reported Friday that the North was moving mobile missile launchers around the country, some carrying a powerful next-generation rocket — the KN-08 — that experts say has enough range to strike South Korea, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia.