Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley Reuters

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley aims to put to a vote within weeks a UN Security Council resolution to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea over its long-range ballistic missile test, several senior UN diplomats said Monday, according to Reuters.

U.S. officials confirmed last week that North Korea successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, noting the ballistic missile flew longer than any North Korean missile test conducted by the regime to date.

North Korea later boasted night that it had conducted a test of a newly developed ICBM that can carry a large and heavy nuclear warhead.

While North Korea had declared in the past that it could test-launch an ICBM “at any time” from any location set by its leader, Kim Jong-Un, it was impossible to determine whether any of its tests had been of an ICBM until last week.

Haley told some UN diplomats late last week of the ambitious timeline for a UN response to North Korea's launch of a missile that some experts believe could have the range to reach Alaska, and parts of the U.S. West Coast.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations was not immediately available to comment on the timeline for a council vote. Some Security Council diplomats have expressed doubt that a draft resolution could be put to a vote quickly, noted Reuters.

Haley said last week that she plans to propose new measures in coming days.

Haley also warned that the U.S. is prepared to defend itself from the North Korean threat, saying, "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

The United States gave China a draft resolution to impose stronger sanctions on Pyongyang after the 15-member Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss the ICBM launch, diplomats said, according to Reuters.

China's UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi told the news agency on Monday that it was important to ensure that any action the Security Council might take should be conducive to achieving the goal of a denuclearized, peaceful and stable Korean peninsula.

"We really must think very carefully about what is the best approach in the Security Council because a resolution, sanctions, are themselves not an objective," he said.

When asked if the council could act within weeks, Liu said it would depend on how members "see the way forward in terms of council action, in terms of how that is put into the wider context of ... improving the situation, preventing further tests, ensuring Security Council resolutions will be abided by."