UNITED NATIONS -- The U.S. and China appear to be nearing agreement on a new Security Council resolution slapping further sanctions on North Korea for its continued development of missile and nuclear weapons programs.
"We are making collectively some progress towards resolution," Francois Delattre, French ambassador to the U.N., told reporters Thursday in front of the Security Council. "We hope it can be adopted, I would say, the sooner the better."
Suggesting that "the credibility of the Security Council is at stake," Delattre noted France's engagement in efforts to apply diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang, and the ambassador said he hoped to see a "resolution with robust and additional sanctions adopted in the very coming days."
Other diplomats also have suggested that an agreement may be reached as early as this week. Japan's U.N. envoy, Koro Bessho, told reporters Monday that he hoped for a deal to be achieved within "days."
And a Security Council diplomat who requested anonymity noted that the virtual deadlock among key negotiators seemed to be ending. "We hope for an agreement on a draft in the next few days," the diplomat said.
One potential challenge involves how to address Pyongyang's two latest rockets -- tested July 4 and July 28 -- which the U.S. and the North itself have described as intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the American mainland. Plans for a Security Council media statement condemning the July 4 launch fell through after Russia expressed opposition to use of the word "ICBM," arguing that the missile tested did not fit the definition of an ICBM.