U.S., China said to agree on new sanctions on N. Korea

undated file photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 in Tokyo by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a consultative meeting with officials in the fields of state security and foreign affairs at undisclosed location in North Korea. U.N. diplomats say the United States and China have reached agreement on a new sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test.
AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File

Updated: 3:05 a.m. EST

UNITED NATIONS The United States and China have reached agreement on a new sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test, U.N. diplomats told The Associated Press late Monday.

The agreement is seen as a sign of Beijing's disapproval of Pyongyang's behavior and will be welcomed in Washington.

It comes as U.S. lawmakers push for tougher U.S. financial restrictions on North Korea.

The U.N. Security Council announced late Monday evening that it will hold closed consultations on North Korea and non-proliferation on Tuesday.

The diplomats, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made, said the United States is expected to circulate a draft resolution to the full council at the meeting. Council members are then expected to send the draft to their capitals for review.

U.N. diplomats told the Reuters news agency they hope the council will vote on the resolution by the end of this week.

"I hope to see a draft (Tuesday) perhaps, but you know, it's up to the Americans," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

All 15 council members approved a press statement condemning Pyongyang's nuclear test and pledging further action hours after North Korea carried out its third atomic blast Feb. 12.

The swift and unanimous response from the U.N.'s most powerful body set the stage for a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang.

South Korea wanted the U.N. resolution to pass in February, when it held the Security Council presidency, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports from the U.N., "but a compromise proved difficult, and there still may be changes that dilute the draft when it goes to all the nations' leadership."

The course to take regarding North Korea still hangs on China's fear that, if North Korea were to collapse economically, a flood of refugees would head for China, diplomats at the UN tell CBS News.

But, Falk adds, the fact that China came to the table, again, to impose tougher sanctions, is a reflection of China's new leadership and an accumulated frustration with North Korea's intransigence with regard to its nuclear program."

For the last three weeks, the United States, a close ally of South Korea and Japan, has been negotiating the text of a new resolution with China, North Korea's closest ally.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose country holds the council presidency this month, told a news conference Monday that a resolution on North Korea might be approved in March, though the text had not yet been circulated.

Last month's statement from the Security Council called the underground test in February a "grave violation" of three U.N. resolutions that ban North Korea from conducting nuclear or missile tests.

North Korea's three nuclear tests -- in 2006, 2009 and 2013 -- occurred after Pyongyang was condemned by the United Nations for rocket launches.

The Security Council imposed sanctions after the first two nuclear tests and after the North's rocket launch in December, which was viewed as part of the country's covert program to develop ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

The sanctions are aimed at trying to derail the country's rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. They bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology, and from importing or exporting material for these programs.

The latest sanctions resolution, adopted in January, again demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program and cease missile launches. It slapped sanctions on North Korean companies and government agencies, including its space agency and several individuals.

The diplomats said they did not know what new sanctions would be included in the resolution to be circulated Tuesday.

There has been speculation that a new resolution will strengthen existing sanctions related to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, toughen financial restrictions and cargo inspections, and add companies and individuals to the sanctions list.

In the meantime, the foreign affairs panels of both houses of Congress this week will consider the Obama administration's next policy options to impede Pyongyang's development of missiles and nuclear weapons, which are increasingly viewed as a direct threat to the United States.