An agreement on broader UN sanctions against North Korea over its recent nuclear test is being held up by differences among seven key powers over tougher cargo inspections and a tighter arms embargo, diplomats have said.
They said the disagreement, which also centered on additional financial penalties, means that the proposed sanctions were unlikely to be adopted by the full 15-member UN Security Council before next week.
The Council's five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United Sates - plus their counterparts from Japan and South Korea have been haggling over an expanded set of sanctions since North Korea's May 25 underground nuclear test.
Envoys of the seven powers met all day on Thursday but failed to find common ground on key sticking points.
"At this time, there is no agreement among the seven on a text," France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said on Friday. "We are making good progress," said Japan's UN ambassador Yukio Takasu, "but it is not correct to say there is an agreement. It is unfounded."
In addition to a broader arms embargo and tougher inspections of cargo, the seven powers are considering a freeze on North Korean assets abroad, denial of access to the international banking and financial services, as broadening the list of entities targeted for travel bans or financial sanctions.