Seven key nations have agreed on tough new UN sanctions against North Korea for defying the UN Security Council and conducting a second nuclear test, diplomats said on Wednesday.
Ambassadors from the five permanent Security Council nations -- the US, China, Russia, Britain and France -- and the two countries most closely affected by the test, Japan and South Korea, reached agreement on the draft UN resolution after two weeks of closed-door negotiations, the diplomats said.
Past sanctions, however, have had little effect in dissuading the North from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the presentation of the draft resolution to the 15-member Security Council late today morning. Since the draft already has support from the five veto-wielding members, its adoption is virtually certain.
The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, would expand an arms embargo against North Korea, seek to curtail the North's financial dealings with the outside world and freeze assets of additional North Korean companies.
It would also authorize searches of ships on the high seas suspected of carrying banned weapons and nuclear material pending approval from the nation whose flag the ship was flying.