US, China agree on draft UN resolution on North Korea sanctions

The draft resolution lays out stringent punishment for Pyongyang and calls for the blacklisting of a number of individuals and entities.

The United States and China have agreed on a new set of sanctions, the toughest so far, on nuclear rogue state North Korea.

The draft resolution that lays out stringent punishment for Pyongyang, which recently carried out a nuclear test and an alleged missile test, will be voted on in a full UN Security Council meeting in a couple of days, CNN reported.

"There were a significant number of blockage points between the (United States and China) ... but there is an agreement between those two countries," a Security Council diplomat told the network.

The agreement over North Korea, an ally of China, comes after lengthy negotiations between the two veto powers.

The resolution ws, the diplomats said. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang's Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry and its National Aerospace Development Agency or 'NADA' will be among the sanctioned entities.

NADA was responsible for the rocket launch in February, which the US believes was a landmark in Pyongyang's pursuit of an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

The UN sanctions and arms embargo on North Korea have been in place since 2006. The country is also banned from importing and exporting nuclear and missile technology.

Ten years after the country came under severe sanctions, Pyongyang said in early January it 'successfully' tested its first hydrogen bomb, exacerbating the security scenario in the region.

Though the US and allies were doubtful of the claim initially, it was later concluded that a partial testing of components associated with a hydrogen bomb did indeed take place.

North Korea conducted a rocket launch earlier this month, claiming to have placed an earth observation satellite into orbit but that led to concerns that it was another milestone in Pyongyang's programme to build a long-range missile that can carry arsenal including nuclear weapons.

Precipitating a regime collapse

The US and China have historically held divergent views on how to handle North Korea.

Though China cranked up its criticism of North Korea for its provocative actions such as a nuclear test in January and the rocket launch this month, it has traditionally defended the reclusive regime.

The ties between North Korea and China have been termed as "friendship forged by blood". Pyongyang relies on Beijing for weapons, food, energy and technology.

China thinks it can ill-afford to let the western powers push Pyongyang "too hard" with the sanctions, precipitating a regime collapse in the isolated country.

On Wednesday, a White House meeting between US National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded that there should be "a strong and united international response to North Korea's provocations."

"They agreed that they will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state," a statement released after the meeting said.