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China, U.S. Agree on U.N. Sanctions Against N. Korea

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke faces a horde of journalists on Tuesday while entering the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China and the United States have come to terms on new U.N. Security Council sanctions to be enacted in response to North Korea's Feb. 12 nuclear test (AP Photo/Andy Wong). U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke faces a horde of journalists on Tuesday while entering the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China and the United States have come to terms on new U.N. Security Council sanctions to be enacted in response to North Korea's Feb. 12 nuclear test (AP Photo/Andy Wong).

After weeks of deliberation, China and the United States have reached agreement on a U.N. Security Council sanctions measure to punish North Korea for its Feb. 12 trial nuclear detonation, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

"The breadth and scope of these sanctions is exceptional," said Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who provided the proposed sanctions document to members of the 15-nation body. She said the measures would curb North Korea's nuclear arms and ballistic missile advances.

"We hope for a unanimous adoption later this week," Rice said.

China has been seen as the main obstacle to punishing its longtime ally for conducting a third underground atomic blast.

The draft plans takes a new approach aimed at countering crooked operations by the North's envoys and similarly prohibited connections involving the nation's banks and movement of currency, according to Rice.

"For the first time ever, this resolution targets the illicit activities of North Korean diplomatic personnel, North Korean banking relationships, (and) illicit transfers of bulk cash," Reuters quoted Rice as saying after a Security Council meeting on the draft resolution. The plan also calls for penalizing Pyongyang again for future missile firings or nuclear tests, AP reported.

"We support action taken by the council, but we think that action should be proportionate, should be balanced and focused on bringing down the tension and focusing on the diplomatic track," Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Li Baodong said in the Reuters report. "A strong signal must be sent out that a nuclear test is against the will of the international community," the diplomat said.

Though China backed the Security Council's 2006 and 2009 sanction measures against North Korea, it only did so after first watering down their provisions, according to Reuters.

Envoys said Beijing through the new sanctions resolution was not anticipated to lean as hard on its longtime ally as Washington would prefer, according to the New York Times.

Pyongyang on Tuesday threatened to pull out of the 1953 agreement that ended Korean War armed hostilities in response to bilateral South Korean-U.S. armed forces maneuvers now taking place, the Associated Press reported. North Korea usually makes bombastic threats when the two countries hold military exercises but rarely follows them up with concrete action.

The White House on Monday dismissed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's rumored interest in talking by telephone with President Obama, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

"The United States has direct channels of communications with the D.P.R.K.," White House spokesman Jay Carney said to reporters following comments by former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who met with Kim last week in North Korea.

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