The United States-sponsored draft resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear tests has hit a fresh roadblock with China and Russia demanding further clarifications on the document.
American diplomats, however, said differences on the draft-- already softened to accommodate Beijing and Moscow-- are of a technical rather than substantial nature.
In the face of stiff resistance from China and Russia, the United States had dropped mention of use of force against North Korea in the current resolution.
The resolution, which was circulated on Thursday among Security Council members had accommodated Russia and China by removing the provision of blanket ban on import of arms.
The original draft had called for search of incoming and outgoing cargo from North Korea which would have meant naval blockade but now that too has been diluted though member states are still authorised to inspect the cargo for banned weapons, including material for weapons of mass destruction.
But, China and Russia, diplomats say, have raised questions about the methods and legality of the inspections.
Washington is pressing for a vote on Saturday but its diplomats said another meeting of the permanent five members of the Security Council and Japan will be needed to sort out the differences.
That could delay the vote, which looked certain earlier yesterday.
The Council postponed the vote set for this morning to afternoon to allow the members to sort out the chinks in the resolution.
Council President Kenzo Oshima has scheduled closed-door discussions later on Saturday. But he said he was not sure if the Council would hold a vote.
Wang Guangya, the Chinese ambassador, said, "It all depends on the final text, because we are not at the final text yet."