John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, said that the vote would take place "tomorrow morning", after the text is finalised, with possible "additional changes" on Friday.

He said: "The council has agreed basically that we'll put our text in blue [meaning that it is ready for adoption] this afternoon and vote tomorrow morning.

"We do have unanimous agreement".

Kenzo Oshima, the Japanese envoy and the council's president for October, confirmed that a vote was planned for Saturday morning.
  
He said: "All council members are asked to come back tomorrow."

The latest draft resolution has resolved some of the outstanding issues by leaving out the threat of military force.

Security Council member China, North Korea's closest ally, had refused to support a resolution which threatened backing up the sanctions with military action.

Extreme sanctions

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, also said that he was opposed "extreme sanctions".

"We have a common position with China on the necessity of pursuing a balanced approach, not to give in to  emotions, to some extreme sanctions," Interfax reported Lavrov as saying.

RIA-Novosti news agency has quoted Lavrov as saying the draft needed further "discussion and clarification".

The text "condemns" Monday's nuclear test calls for wide-ranging economic, military and financial sanctions, mainly targeting North Korea's nuclear, ballistic missile and other weapons programmes.

The draft, largely based on US proposals, drops calls for a blanket arms embargo and instead targets the trading of missiles, tanks, warships and combat aircraft.

It would demand that Pyongyang scrap all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner". The government would also be urged to return to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks "without pre-condition".

Travel ban

The resulution would impose a travel ban on senior North Korean officials involved in weapons programmes and call for all cargo to and from the country to be inspected.

Sanctions will target North
Korea's weapons programmes

Faced with sanctions, Pyongyang appears to be pushing for a return to talks.

According to a Russian official North Korea is suggesting it would implement an agreement from September last year to end its nuclear programmes in exchange for aid and security guarantees, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Alexander Alexeyev, the Russian deputy foreign minister, also said that North Korea had expressed the desire for a swift, negotiated resolution to the confrontation.

Air sample

Meanwhile, a US intelligence official has cast doubt on the claim North Korea's claim that it successfully detonated a nuclear device.
 
Results from an initial air sample taken after the test showed no evidence of radioactive particles that would be expected from a successful nuclear detonation, the intelligence official said.

The results do not necessarily mean the blast was not a nuclear explosion, the official added, but do seem to suggest that the test was not entirely successful.

The air sample was taken on Tuesday by a specialised aircraft, the WC-135, flying from Kadena air base in Okinawa, Japan. It apparently took the sample over the Sea of Japan off the Korean coast.