The UN Security Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a draft resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea after the United States toned down its demands in a bid to win support from Russia and China.
Washington has led the international drive to punish the rogue state after it detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear device earlier this month.
The UN had originally pushed for a strict oil embargo, as well as a freeze on the assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. A new draft text circulated late yesterday maintains an embargo on gas but would limit sales of oil to 500,000 barrels for three months from October 1 and 2 million barrels from January 1 for a period of 12 months.
Britain and France — permanent veto-wielding Security Council members along with the US, China and Russia — have given Washington their strong backing. It remained unclear whether Russia and China would support the new raft of sanctions.
The US Energy Information Administration says, estimates suggest Pyongyang imports about 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day, almost all of it from China.
Earlier North Korea has warned the United States that it will pay a “due price” if harsh sanctions against the country are agreed at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on state media that if the US “does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution'” it would respond in kind.