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US, China agree draft North Korea sanctions deal

The US and China have reached a deal on a draft resolution that would expand UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea. The sanctions come in response to Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January.

Two council diplomats said on Wednesday that Beijing and Washington had agreed on the draft, which the two veto powers have been negotiating for the past seven weeks.

"It's a substantive, long, full draft... which I hope will be adopted in the coming days," a senior council diplomat said, adding that after a "significant number of blockage points between the two countries" there is now an agreement.

Later on Wednesday, US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and agreed on the importance of "a UN Security Council Resolution that goes beyond previous resolutions."

The UN Security Council is set to discuss North Korea sanctions resolutions on Thursday afternoon.

Watch video 00:33

'North Korea must be held responsibile'

Possible blacklist

According to Security Council diplomats, the US urged China to accept a measure which would restrict North Korean access to international ports as well as restrict North Korean banks' access to the international financial system.

The diplomats also said draft contains measures which call for blacklisting a number of individuals and entities.

North Korea's Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry and its National Aerospace Development Agency (NADA) are expected to be some of the sanctioned entities, reported South Korea's Yonhap news. NADA was responsible for February's rocket launch.

The North's secretive General Reconnaissance Bureau, which has already been sanctioned by the US for its suspected role in the 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures, will also appear on the blacklist, reported Yonhap.

One council diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, told AP the draft had already been circulated on Wednesday to three other permanent council members - Russia, Britain, and France.

Difficult negotiations

China and the US have so far found it difficult to reach an agreement on

how to respond

to North Korea's nuclear test on January 6.

As North Korea's most important ally and largest trading partner, China has previously been reluctant to impose too much pressure on Pyongyang, over fears of destabilizing the country and unleashing an influx of refugees across their border.

North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 because of its multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches. As well as facing a UN arms embargo, Pyongyang is also banned from importing and exporting nuclear and missile technology and is not allowed to import luxury goods.

Pyongyang has done nothing to compromise its tone since January's test caused international outrage. As US Secretary of State John Kerry

met with his Chinese counterpart

on Tuesday, North Korea promised a "strategic" response if it felt threatened by an upcoming joint US-South Korean military exercise.

rs, ksb/cmk (Reuters, dpa)

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