WASHINGTON — The United States and China have made progress toward a draft UN sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its recent nuclear tests and push it to the negotiating table.
After talks in Washington, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tueday the draft was still being "evaluated" by officials before being submitted to the UN Security Council.
But both powers vowed that they would not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and expressed confidence the resolution would be strong enough to force Kim Jong-un's government to reconsider its strategy.
China wants its neighbour to halt its weapons programme -- most recently shown by the January 6 test of an atomic bomb Pyongyang claims was a new thermonuclear device -- and return to six-party international talks.
Wang said his talks with Kerry had made progress in agreeing on a draft sanctions resolution to be presented to the full UN Security Council.
"We do not accept the DPRK's nuclear missile programme and we do not recognise the DPRK as a nuclear weapons state," he said, using the abbreviation for North Korea's official name.
"Important progress has been made in the consultations and we are looking at the possibility of reaching agreement on a draft resolution and passing it in the near future."
Both men said the goal of the resolution is not to worsen the standoff with Kim Jong-un's government, but to persuade it to resume talks on ending his nuclear programme.
"We have made significant progress, it has been very constructive in the last days," Kerry said.
"And there is no question that if the resolution is approved, it will go beyond anything that we have previously passed," he added.
"I believe that what we are considering is significant but, as I say, it is in the appropriate evaluative stages and we both hope that this can move forward very soon." — AFP