The UN Security Council is set to vote on a US-drafted resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programme by banning mineral and seafood exports worth over $1bn.
The Security Council was scheduled to vote at 3pm EDT on Saturday on the new set of sanctions, according to diplomats.
A council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a “high confidence” that Russia and China, North Korea’s main trading partner and ally, would support the draft resolution.
A resolution needs nine votes in favour, and no vetoes by the US, China, Russia, France or Britain, to be adopted.
The measures would be the seventh set of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first carried out a nuclear test in 2006.
Earlier on Saturday, Southeast Asia’s top diplomats attending a regional security forum in the Philippines criticised North Korea, saying its two ICBM tests last month threaten world stability.
“These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world,” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers said in a statement from Manila on Saturday.
ASEAN Regional Forum is a 27-nation bloc that includes North Korea, South Korea, US and Japan.
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Its position was short of a tougher line by the US, which wanted it to downgrade relations with North Korea.
Backed by its European allies, Japan and South Korea, the US has been leading the push at the UN for tougher sanctions in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
A second test on July 28 raised further alarm about North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s drive to develop a missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
The draft resolution reiterates language in previous Security Council resolutions supporting a return to six-party talks with the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.
All the countries involved in the six-party talks belong to the ASEAN Regional Forum.
North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2009 to protest international condemnation of a long-range rocket launch.
ASEAN ministers, in their Saturday’s statement, said they were ready “to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability” on the Korean Peninsula.
“We strongly call upon [North Korea] as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity,” it said.
Some Asian countries, including South Korea, are hoping to have bilateral talks with North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho.
“If there is a chance, I would tell him that we must have dialogue and that the North must stop the continuous provocations,” Kang Kyung Wha, South Korea’s foreign minister, said in Manila.
North Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday said it had briefed diplomats of Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in Pyongyang earlier in the week about the “resounding success” of its latest ICBM test.
Source: News agencies