The UN Security Council on Tuesday ordered new sanctions against North Korea for a banned rocket launch last month and threatened "significant action" if it stages a new nuclear test.
North Korea reacted defiantly to the action against its state space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals added to the UN sanctions list. It hinted that it could carry out a nuclear test.
The resolution, proposed by the United States and passed unanimously by the 15-nation council, "condemned" North Korea for what it said was a "ballistic missile technology" test on December 12.
The North, already under tough UN sanctions for nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, said the launch was to put a satellite in space.
The United States and China held weeks of top-level negotiations over the international response before the resolution was submitted to the council for a vote.
The US government had sought tough measures against Pyongyang, while China has sought to shield its ally against sanctions.
After the sanctions were passed, US ambassador Susan Rice said the resolution was a sign that North Korea will have "an increasingly steep price" to pay if it chooses confrontation with the international community.
China's Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong (L) and France's Ambassador to the UN Gérard Araud vote during a Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of North Korea on January 22, 2013 at the UN in New York. North Korea reacted defiantly Wednesday to a new round of UN sanctions, hinting that it would carry out a nuclear test and ruling out any talks on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
China's UN envoy Li Baodong called for greater diplomatic efforts to halt North Korea's weapons program, which is a major concern to neighboring South Korea and Japan.
The Security Council demanded that the North suspend "all activities related to its ballistic missile program" and resume a moratorium on missile launches.
It also demanded that the North "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."
The council "expresses its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK (North Korea) launch or nuclear test," added the resolution.
The Korean Committee for Space Technology, the government agency which organized the rocket launch, topped the list of new bodies sanctioned.
The list also included Bank of East Land, which the resolution said had been used to transfer funds to "in a manner that circumvents sanctions" and had dealt with banks in Iran that also face UN sanctions.
Korea Kumryong Trading Corporation, Tosong Technology Trading Corporation, Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation and Leader (Hong Kong) International were also added to the list.
This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 12, 2012, shows North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, lifting off from the launching pad in Cholsan county.
All were accused of procuring equipment for North Korea's nuclear and missile development or of exporting and dealing in arms.
The four individuals placed on the list were all involved in North Korea's technology development or bank officials. The resolution deplored the North's use of "bulk cash" to avoid sanctions.
"This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation" of previous resolutions, Rice told reporters.
She said the new measures would "concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea's WMD (weapons of mass destruction) program and reduce the threat of proliferation."
She said the United States wanted "credible negotiations" with Pyongyang but warned the resolution "makes clear that there will be an increasingly steep price to pay if North Korea again chooses confrontation with this council and the international community."
Shortly after the sanctions were passed, North Korea's foreign ministry said however: "We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence."
Although it made no explicit mention of a nuclear test, the threat of "physical actions" will fuel speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out what would be its third test of a nuclear device.
China's Li said that despite his country's support for the resolution, the Council had to be "prudent, measured, proportionate, conducive to peace and stability."
He told reporters there had to be new efforts to start "the diplomatic track and avoid the escalation of tension." China has been trying to revive moribund six-nation talks on the North's nuclear program.
But North Korea's foreign ministry said there would be "no dialogue to discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
South Korea, a temporary member of the council since January 1, strongly welcomed the resolution as did UN leader Ban Ki-moon.
Ban calls on the North "to work towards building confidence with neighboring countries and improving the life of its people," said his spokesman Martin Nesirky.