China and Russia on Monday proposed a draft United Nations resolution that would give North Korea some relief from sanctions, including exempting inter-Korean rail and road projects from the restrictions, according to Reuters.
The text seen by the news agency also seeks to lift sanctions affecting North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles. It also calls for lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad and the termination of a requirement to repatriate all North Korean workers by Dec. 22.
The proposal comes less than a week after the United States convened the U.N. Security Council to discuss North Korea's recent missile launches and possible future provocation.
At that meeting, China and Russia's envoys to the U.N. called for exploring ways to ease sanctions on North Korea to facilitate diplomatic efforts for denuclearization.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft, however, urged the North to refrain from provocations and warned that if events prove otherwise, the Council must prepare to "act accordingly."
She also said any discussion of a "new road map" or Security Council resolution must reflect the "reality" that North Korea has continued to develop and test its banned weapons programs and refused to engage in sustained dialogue over the past year and a half.
Asked about the proposal, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said it is premature to consider offering sanctions relief.
"(North Korea) 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 spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency in an email.
Reuters said it was not clear when or if the draft resolution could be put to a vote by the 15-member Security Council. The U.S., China and Russia are permanent, veto-wielding members, along with France and Britain.
Russia and China said their proposal was made "with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population," the news agency said.
The text also welcomes "the continuation of the dialogue between the United States and the DPRK at all levels, aimed at establishing new U.S.-DPRK relations, building mutual confidence and joining efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula in a staged and synchronized manner."
DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (Yonhap)