According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, an expert panel on North Korea for the UN Security Council reported that Pyongyang earned over 270 million dollars, or 300 billion won, of foreign currency by selling coal, iron and zinc to China, despite a UN resolution banning North Korean exports of those resources late a year ago.
Several diplomats said the USA demand for a speedy council vote was aimed at putting maximum pressure on China and reflected Washington's escalating concern over North Korea's latest nuclear test, which its leaders touted as a hydrogen bomb, and its recent ballistic missile launch over Japan.
The United States called on the U.N. Security Council to vote on increased sanctions against North Korea after its most recent nuclear test.
The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions on the resolution have been private, said all 15 Security Council members discussed the draft on Friday, and both China and Russian Federation appeared willing to negotiate.
US officials have said they want tough sanctions to maximize pressure on Pyongyang to agree to negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear and missile tests.
The US has circulated a draft resolution that would, aside from barring crude oil shipments to North Korea, ban the nation's exports of textiles and prohibit employment of its guest workers by other countries, according to a diplomat at the world body. South Korea was on alert after thinking they might celebrate with another ballistic missile test, but instead it was a more staid affair with ceremonies to honor past leaders.
Tension on the Korean peninsula has escalated as North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, has stepped up the development of weapons in defiance of UN sanctions.
United Nations diplomatic sources said they doubted either China or Moscow, both of which have the power to veto United Nations council resolutions, would accept anything more stringent than a ban on imports of North Korean textiles.
"The US intent is so strong on this issue and clearly they are throwing a lot at this", said a Security Council diplomat.
There was no word on the outcome of negotiations, and whether any changes sought by the Russians and Chinese were acceptable to the United States.
"It's clear that American diplomacy over the past two decades has failed because this is where we are with North Korea, but if we failed, the Chinese ought to be abjectly embarrassed over their failures", he said. Meanwhile, the U.N.is considering fresh sanctions to counter North Korea's increasingly frequent and powerful missile launches.