UN-NK resolution

NEW YORK/SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- Undeterred by angry threats of a "preemptive nuclear attack," the U.N. Security Council decided Thursday to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its Feb. 12 nuclear test.

Resolution 2094 unanimously passed by the 15-member council calls for the international community to ratchet up punitive steps to curb North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The U.S. said the new binding resolution will "bite hard."

Under the resolution, U.N. member states are required to inspect all of North Korea's maritime and air cargo "within or transiting through their territory" if it's believed to contain illicit items.

The resolution calls on states to deny any North Korean vessel entry to their ports or airfields if the vessel has refused to be inspected.

It also calls for "appropriate measures to prohibit financial institutions within their territories or under their jurisdiction from opening representative offices or subsidiaries or banking accounts in the DPRK" if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such financial services are associated with Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The resolution also added three North Korean individuals and two entities to the U.N. sanctions blacklist are they are suspected to be involved in the WMD program.

It expressed its determination to take "further significant measures" in the event of North Korea's additional rocket launch or nuclear test.

Shortly after the vote on the new resolution, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that "taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard." It is the fourth U.N. resolution against the communist nation.

Hours before the U.N. council's vote, North Korea claimed that the U.S. is "set to light a fuse for a nuclear war," citing the U.S.-led move in the council,

North Korea will "exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country," the nation's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Rice said, "North Korea will achieve nothing by continued threats and provocation."

Meanwhile, South Korea, a non-permanent member of the 15-seat council, welcomed the latest resolution against North Korea, saying it strongly condemns the nuclear test and further enhances the scope and intensity of sanctions on Pyongyang.

The South Korean government urged North Korea to heed "the shared concerns and united demands of the international community, follow the path of abandoning its nuclear and missile development and ceasing all provocations, and work together towards shared development as a responsible member of the international community," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

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