WASHINGTON China and the United States signalled on Tuesday they were near agreement on a U.N. resolution against North Korea for its Jan. 6 nuclear test.
"Important progress has been made in the consultations and we are looking at the possibility of reaching agreement on a draft resolution and passing it in the near future," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
China and the United States have not entirely seen eye to eye on how strong the response should be to North Korea since the nuclear test, Pyongyang's fourth, with Washington urging harsh punitive measures and Beijing emphasizing dialogue.
Neither man was willing to describe what the potential U.N. Security Council resolution might say and both emphasized a willingness to resume so-called six-party talks on reining in the North's nuclear programme.
China, North Korea's most important ally and largest trading partner, has historically been reluctant to put undue pressure on its southern neighbour for fear of destabilising the country and unleashing a flood of refugees across their border.
"We have made significant progress. It has been very constructive in the last days," Kerry told reporters. "We both hope that this can move forward very soon."
He also stressed U.S. openness on an eventual peace agreement to conclude the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, if the North were willing to "come to the table and negotiate the denuclearisation."
(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chris Reese)
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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2016 06:46 AM