WASHINGTON -- The United States on Monday rejected a reported proposal by China and Russia to lift some United Nations sanctions on North Korea, saying Pyongyang has yet to make progress toward denuclearization.
A spokesperson for the State Department made the comment after Reuters reported that China and Russia proposed a draft UN resolution seeking partial sanctions relief, including the lifting of sanctions on North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles.
"Now is not the time for the UN Security Council to consider offering premature sanctions relief," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency in an email.
"The DPRK is threatening to conduct an escalated provocation, refusing to meet to discuss denuclearization, and continuing to maintain and advance its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," the official added, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Tensions have renewed on the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang threatens to take a "new way" unless Washington offers concessions for its denuclearization by the end of the year.
Experts have raised concerns the regime will test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, following two presumed rocket engine tests at the North's Sohae satellite launching facility on Dec. 7 and 13.
The State Department spokesperson reaffirmed President Donald Trump's resolve to fulfilling a deal he reached with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their first summit in Singapore in June 2018.
"President Trump remains committed to making progress toward the Singapore Summit commitments of transformed relations, building lasting peace, and complete denuclearization," the official said.
"The United States remains committed to diplomacy to make progress towards those goals."
The spokesperson added, however, that the US cannot do this alone.
"Members of the UN Security Council have spoken in unison that the DPRK must avoid provocations, abide by its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and engage in sustained and substantive negotiations to achieve complete denuclearization," the spokesperson said, referring to resolutions that ban North Korea from testing ballistic missile technology.
Reuters said it is unclear when and if the resolution will be put to a vote by the 15-member Council. China and Russia are permanent, veto-wielding members, along with the US, Britain and France. (Yonhap)