China is blocking attempts to issue a UN Security Council condemnation of North Korea over its attack on the rival South or its new nuclear activities, diplomats said.
The deadlock has become so great that daily Security Council contacts on North Korea since the North's deadly artillery assault on November 22 were not held on Tuesday.
"There were no talks - neither formal nor informal and nothing else is planned," said one diplomat on Tuesday.
China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council which can veto any resolution. It is also North Korea's closest international ally and has only reluctantly agreed to sanctions against the Pyongyang regime.