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(2nd LD) U.N. Security Council postpones vote on N.K. resolution until Wednesday

All News 03:05 March 02, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details, background)

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, March 1 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council postponed a vote on a new resolution expanding sanctions on North Korea until Wednesday as Russia asked for more time to review the draft resolution, officials said Tuesday.

The vote, which had been scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, has now been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday as Russia, a veto-holding permanent member of the council, asked for a 24-hour review of the draft worked out between the United States and China, U.N. diplomats said.

The resolution, which significantly toughens sanctions on Pyongyang, was put together after nearly 50 days of painstaking negotiations between the U.S. and China amid Beijing's opposition to harsh measures against the communist neighbor.

The U.S.-China agreement had raised hope that the resolution could be adopted as early as last weekend. But Russia put a last-minute hold on it, saying it needs time to review the proposed resolution. Russia is the only member of the 15-member council that has yet to endorse the text.

After reaching final agreement with China, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power unveiled key points of the draft resolution, which include requiring U.S. member countries to inspect all cargo going in and out of North Korea.

The resolution also bans the North's exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's total exports, while prohibiting all small arms and other conventional weapons from being sold to the North.

In addition, the resolution also calls for banning jet and rocket fuel supplies to the North, and grounding North Korean flights suspected of carrying contraband, and denying suspicious vessels carrying illicit items access to ports.

It would be the fifth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the North.

The previous resolutions were adopted after the North's first nuclear test in 2006, its second nuclear test in 2009, its long-range rocket launch in late 2012 and its third nuclear test in early 2013.

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