SEOUL - The United States is pushing hard for tough sanctions against North Korea, one of its top envoys for Asia said on Wednesday, although diplomats at the United Nations said it appeared unlikely that the North's ally, China, would support them.
Washington, along with South Korea, Japan and European Union states, want to punish North Korea for its December rocket launch with a United Nations Security Council resolution and tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.
"We anticipate formal steps in the Security Council in the immediate future," Kurt Campbell, the top US diplomat for East Asian Affairs, told reporters after meeting with South Korean defense and foreign ministry officials.
Campbell said Washington was "in the midst of really rather intense deliberations" in the Security Council. He did not directly address the issue of China's involvement and is set to travel to Japan after South Korea.