Bowing to Russian and Chinese pressure, the United States on Friday circulated a new draft UN resolution among members of the Security Council, retaining tough economic and weapons sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear tests.
But it made clear that military force cannot be used without further Council approval.
Diplomats said the vote could come as early on Saturday if the resolutions being sent to the capitals of the member countries is approved by the foreign ministers.
But any last minute hitch could delay vote until early next week.
The resolution is still under Chapter 7 but invokes Article 41, which allows sanctions but does not allow use of military force to enforce them.
This accommodates concerns of both Washington, which wanted resolution under Chapter 7 and of Beijing, which did not want it allows use of military force.
It retains the controversial provision that allows inspection of cargo coming in or going out of the country but says the action should be "cooperative" without defining the term.
Apparently, the lack of clarity is meant to satisfy both sides and leaves definition to later negotiations.
The provision of sanctions is aimed at ensuring non-proliferation of materials connected with weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemicals and biological.
The United States has accommodated Russia and China by removing the provision of blanket ban on import of arms.
The provision now only prohibits heavy weapons including attack helicopters, missiles, and warships and bans any transfer or development of weapons of mass destruction.