UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council plans to vote on a resolution on Tuesday that would dramatically expand existing U.N. sanctions on North Korea in response to its Jan. 6 nuclear test, the U.S. mission to the United Nations said on Monday.
The vote is expected to come during a meeting that begins at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Tuesday, an official at the mission told Reuters.
Last week the United States presented to the 15-nation council a draft resolution it negotiated with China that would significantly tighten restrictions after North Korea’s nuclear test and rocket launch, and create what it described as the toughest U.N. sanctions regime in two decades.
Originally Washington had hoped to put the resolution to a vote last weekend but Russian demanded more time to study the text, which the United States agreed last week with China in an unusual partnership against Beijing’s neighbor and ally Pyongyang.
The draft, seen by Reuters, would require U.N. member states to conduct mandatory inspections of all cargo passing through their territory to or from North Korea to look for illicit goods. Previously states were only required to do this if they had reasonable grounds to believe there was illicit cargo.
One diplomat said there had been minor changes to the text, though he offered no details.
The United States used the nearly two months of bilateral negotiations that at one point involved President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, diplomats said, to win China’s support for unusually tough measures intended to persuade North Korea to abandon its atomic weapons program.
The proposal would close a gap in the U.N. arms embargo on Pyongyang by banning all weapons imports and exports.
There would also be an unprecedented ban on the transfer to North Korea of any item that could directly contribute to the operational capabilities of the North Korean armed forces, such as trucks that could be modified for military purposes.
Other proposed measures include a ban on all supplies of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea, a requirement for states to expel North Korean diplomats engaging in illicit activities, and blacklisting 17 North Korean individuals and 12 entities, including the National Aerospace Development Agency or ‘NADA’, the body responsible for February’s rocket launch.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told reporters the new measures, if approved, would be “the strongest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades.”
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 because of its multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches.
Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Michael Perry