The United States and China have agreed on a UN resolution on North Korea and will not accept Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state, the White House said Wednesday.
Security Advisor Susan Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed during a meeting “on the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea’s provocations, including through a UN Security Council resolution that goes beyond previous resolutions”, the White House said in a statement.
“They agreed that they will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state,” the statement from National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said.
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Price said President Barack Obama joined the meeting “to underscore his interest in building a durable, constructive, and productive US-China relationship” and that the US leader looked forward to welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to a March 31 to April 1 nuclear security summit in Washington and working together towards its success.
The White House statement came as diplomats at United Nations headquarters in New York said Washington and Beijing had agreed on a draft resolution imposing fresh sanctions on North Korea and the Security Council could vote on the measure in the coming days.
The United States circulated the draft text to the other three permanent council members , Britain, France and Russia , on Wednesday and was set to formally present it to the full 15-member council soon, said the diplomats, who asked not to be named.
“There is good progress on the resolution and we are hopeful that there will be an adoption in the coming days,” a council diplomat said.
Negotiations on the draft resolution began six weeks ago after North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test on January 6 and claimed it was a thermonuclear device.
A council diplomat described the draft resolution as a significantly substantive text while another diplomat said it contained a large number of very tough measures as well as names to be added to the sanctions black list.
Among the toughest measures, the United States had been pushing for a ban on North Korean ships in all ports, but that met with strong resistance from China.
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Beijing has been reluctant about biting sanctions that would take aim at North Korea’s already weak economy out of concern that the isolated state could collapse, unleashing chaos on China’s border.
After North Korea carried out a rocket launch on February 6, the Security Council renewed its pledge to impose new sanctions to punish Pyongyang.
The council has imposed four sets of sanctions on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.