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U.N. Powers Agree on Draft of Sanctions Against North Korea

The five permanent Security Council members, Japan and non-council member South Korea on Wednesday agreed on the text of a draft U.N. resolution that would expand sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test and weapons program, a diplomat told Reuters.

The draft resolution reportedly will be discussed at a meeting of the full 15-nation Security Council later in the morning, with a vote expected on Friday, the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. and Japan have pushed for strong sanctions against North Korea in response to its nuclear test, but China and Russia have been more hesitant about provoking Pyongyang.

North Korea has bristled at any talk of sanctions.

On Monday, Pyongyang's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country will consider any sanctions a declaration of war and will respond to it with "due corresponding self-defense measures." On Tuesday, North Korea said it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked.

A draft resolution sent to the seven governments on Friday would curtail North Korea's financial dealings with the outside world, freeze assets of additional companies, expand an arms embargo, and authorize searches of ships on the high seas suspected of carrying arms and banned weapons to the North if the country whose flag the vessel is flying gives consent.

According to that draft, if the country doesn't give its consent — a virtual certainty if the ship is North Korean — the country shall "direct the vessel to proceed to an appropriate and convenient port for the required inspection by the local authorities." Several diplomats questioned whether this would actually lead to inspections.

The draft would have the Security Council condemn "in the strongest terms" the North's nuclear test "in violation and flagrant disregard" of the sanctions resolution it approved after Pyongyang's first nuclear test in October 2006.

It would also demand a halt to further nuclear test or missile launch and reiterate the council's demand that the North abandon all nuclear weapons, return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, allow U.N. nuclear inspections, and rejoin six-party talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.