The U.N. Security Council has delayed voting on a Japanese-sponsored resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea to punish the isolated communist state for last week's missile tests.
Japan asked that Monday's vote be postponed while a high-level Chinese delegation is in North Korea trying to persuade Pyongyang to return to multi-party nuclear disarmament talks. China is North Korea's closest ally.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says he agrees with the decision to put off the vote to give Chinese diplomacy a chance to succeed.
Bolton says the United States wants North Korea to return to the negotiating table, and implement an agreement reached at the most recent session of the multilateral talks in September 2005.
North Korea had agreed to abandon its nuclear program in return for humanitarian aid, security guarantees and diplomatic recognition from the U.S.
Envoys from Japan and the five permanent Security Council members - Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France - are holding informal discussions in New York to try to narrow differences over the text of the Japanese draft resolution on sanctions against North Korea.
Six party talks with North Korea including China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States have been stalled since November.
Last week, Pyongyang fired seven missiles, including a long-range ballistic missile, which crashed after less than one minute after it was launched.