The United States wants to tighten sanctions against North Korea over its recent launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the Associated Press reported.

Washington, which is chairing the UN Security Council this month, said it plans to vote today on a resolution imposing tougher penalties on Pyongyang.

The US Permanent Mission to the world body has been working for several months on a draft of such a resolution, which is opposed by North Korea's neighbors China and Russia.

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles in less than an hour

At a council meeting on May 11th, both sides said they were in favor of new talks with Pyongyang, not new punitive measures.

It will become clear today whether China and Russia will use their veto power to block the proposed document or decide to abstain.

The Chinese delegation to the UN said late last night that it did not believe that the draft resolution proposed by the United States could solve any problem.

In recent weeks, China has proposed a declaration on the North Korean issue by the President of the Security Council, not a resolution.

Yesterday, Seoul announced that North Korea had launched a test rocket of three missiles.

It is assumed that one was intercontinental and the other two - with a smaller range.

These were the 17th in a row to test North Korean missiles this year.

United States and North Korea

ballistic missile