SEOUL, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The United States is expected to ask China to ban oil exports to North Korea and block imports of North Korean mineral resources, including iron ore and anthracite, as part of tighter sanctions against Pyongyang.
Quoting an anonymous diplomatic source, Kyodo News reported the Obama administration has prepared a draft proposal that could place China's energy supply to the isolated North at the center of new United Nations Security Council sanctions.
The proposal also suggests banning flights of North Korean airline Air Koryo to and from other countries. Beijing, the Chinese capital, is a major air hub for visitors seeking to visit Pyongyang.
The Asahi Shimbun reported Friday the sanctions draft proposal also includes plans to strengthen the inspection of North Korea cargo. More specifically, the proposal targets North Korea cargo that uses the Chinese port city of Dalian as a transit point for shipping.
"If proper cargo inspection takes place in Dalian, most banned North Korea exports can be vetted," an unidentified Security Council official told the Asahi.
Earlier this week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said China is key to supporting resolutions against North Korea provocations, but South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported the tougher measures may not be welcomed in Beijing.
Relations between China and North Korea have deteriorated, and Beijing recently condemned Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test.
Pyongyang issued a statement Friday that appeared to address those tensions.
"Whether we have external support or not makes no difference to [North Korea]," read the statement in the Rodong Sinmun.
"There is nothing more dangerous to a strong and prosperous independent nation than dependence on foreign nations," North Korea said.