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Report: U.S., China agree to tighten restrictions on North Korea coal trade

By Elizabeth Shim
A Chinese barge transports a CAT backhoe down the Yalu River past the North Korean city Sinuiju (background), across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. Discussion of sanctions have been stalled since North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in September, but multiple diplomatic sources say progress has been made between U.S. and Chinese envoys. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A Chinese barge transports a CAT backhoe down the Yalu River past the North Korean city Sinuiju (background), across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. Discussion of sanctions have been stalled since North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in September, but multiple diplomatic sources say progress has been made between U.S. and Chinese envoys. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Washington and Beijing may have reached a consensus on a draft resolution condemning North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.

The United Nations Security Council draft resolution includes an agreement to target North Korea's coal exports to China, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

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Discussion of sanctions has been stalled since North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in September, but multiple diplomatic sources at the Security Council told Kyodo that progress has been made between U.S. and Chinese envoys.

The United States and China continue to hold talks separately with other members of the Security Council including Britain, France and Russia.

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Not all members have been cooperative, according to the report.

Moscow, which has long emphasized the importance of dialogue, has not been responsive to new clauses that address the shortcomings of past resolutions.

Sources also said they still expect difficulties ahead, although the gap in perspective between China and the United States has narrowed with the latest consensus.

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The loophole that the two sides may have agreed to close relates to North Korea's coal exports.

A sanctions resolution adopted in March after North Korea's fourth nuclear test permits trade for civilian purposes.

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That clause has allowed North Korea to export coal to China, according to the report.

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The United States reportedly proposed a tightening of restrictions on the coal trade.

The report comes at a time when North Korea continues to champion its weapons development and military.

On Friday North Korea celebrated its sixth "victory" anniversary to commemorate the bombardment of South Korea's Yeongpyeong Island, according to KCNA.

The shelling of the island resulted in four deaths.

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