UN adopts tough new North Korea sanctions after nuclear test

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Media captionUS ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the sanctions on luxury goods would "bite hard" for North Korean officials

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved fresh sanctions against North Korea in response to Pyongyang's nuclear test last month.

The resolution is targeting North Korean diplomats, cash transfers and access to luxury goods.

It imposes asset freezes and travel bans on three individuals and two firms linked to North Korea's military.

Pyongyang earlier vowed to use its right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack against its "aggressors".

'Grave threat'

In a 15-0 vote, the council on Thursday backed Resolution 2094, imposing the fourth set of sanctions against the North.

Speaking after the vote, the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the document "strongly condemns" Pyongyang's actions.

She said the sanctions would "further constrain" North Korea's ability to develop its nuclear programme.

And Ms Rice warned that the UN would "take further significant actions" if Pyongyang were to carry out another nuclear test.

"North Korea will achieve nothing by continuing threats and provocations," she stressed, urging the North to comply with the demands of the international community.

China's UN ambassador, Li Baodong, said that "the top priority now is to defuse the tensions" on the Korean peninsula.

Mr Li also said that the six-party talks on the North's controversial programme must resume.

South Korea's envoy to the UN, Kim Sook, described the North's nuclear tests as "grave threat to the peace" on the Korean peninsula and the wider region.

Mr Kim urged Pyongyang to respond to the concerns of the world community. "North Korea's future rests in its own hands," he said.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who is the current president of the council, described the resolution as an "appropriate measure".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the measure "sent an unequivocal message to (North Korea) that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons."

Pyongyang has so far made no comments following Thursday's vote.

But earlier it accused the US of pushing to start a war.

"As long as the United States is willing to spark nuclear war, our forces will exercise their right to a pre-emptive nuclear strike," said North Korea's foreign ministry, in a statement carried by the KCNA news agency, without giving further details.

Earlier this week, Pyongyang also threatened to scrap the 60-year truce which ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

February's nuclear test, North Korea's third, followed its apparently successful launch in December of a three-stage rocket - a move condemned by the UN as a banned test of missile technology.

Pyongyang claims its nuclear test involved a smaller and more powerful device - prompting concerns it could be moving closer to creating a warhead small enough to arm a missile.

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