The United States and China have agreed on a proposed UN resolution on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and will not accept Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state, the White House and United Nations diplomats said on Wednesday.
U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed during a meeting "on the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea's provocations, including through a UN Security Council resolution that goes beyond previous resolutions," the White House said in a statement.
The statement came as diplomats at United Nations headquarters in New York said that Washington and Beijing had agreed on a draft resolution imposing fresh sanctions on the DPRK and that the Security Council could vote on the measure in the coming days.
The U.S. circulated the draft of the sanctions on Wednesday to the other permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, France and Russia — and was set to formally present it to the full 15-member council soon, said the diplomats, who asked not to be identified.
"There is good progress on the resolution, and we are hopeful that there will be adoption in the coming days," one diplomat said.
Another diplomat described the draft resolution as a "significantly substantive text", while yet another said it contained "a large number of very tough measures", as well as names to be added to the sanctions blacklist.
Beijing offered no direct comment on Thursday about the White House statement.
However, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying cited Foreign Minister Wang's remarks during Wednesday's joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Wang had said that Beijing and Washington made important progress in the new resolution against the DPRK and are "looking at the possibility of reaching agreement in the near future".
But Beijing reiterated that the sanctions will not solve the DPRK nuclear issue, and that related parties should return to negotiations.
The agreement was reached as Wang was in Washington for a three-day visit. It was the third meeting between Wang and Kerry within a month after the DPRK conducted a nuclear test in January.
Wang also met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
Obama underscored his interest in building a durable, constructive and productive U.S.-China relationship. The U.S. leader also said he looked forward to welcoming President Xi Jinping to a March 31-April 1 nuclear security summit in Washington and "working together toward its success", according to news statements from both China and the U.S..
Zuo Xiying, an international studies specialist at the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China, said the agreements reached between the two countries are conducive to the buildup of strategic trust between the two.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of U.S. studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the frequent mutual visits by Wang and Kerry are apparently driven by unexpected changes on the Korean Peninsula and recent rising tensions in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. diplomat will make a two-day visit to South Korea this week for talks about the DPRK nuclear and missile programs, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.