Security Council OKs N. Korea Sanctions

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose punishing sanctions on North Korea including ship searches for banned weapons, calling Pyongyang's claimed nuclear test "a clear threat to international peace and security."

North Korea immediately rejected the resolution, and its U.N. ambassador walked out of the council chamber after accusing its members of a "gangster-like" action which neglects the nuclear threat posed by the United States.

The U.S.-sponsored resolution demands that the reclusive communist nation abandon its nuclear weapons program, and orders all countries to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles. It orders nations to freeze assets of people or businesses connected to these programs, and ban the individuals from traveling.

The resolution also calls on all countries to inspect cargo leaving and arriving in North Korea to prevent any illegal trafficking in unconventional weapons or ballistic missiles. The final draft was softened from language authorizing searches, but was still unacceptable to China - the North's closest ally and largest trading partner - which said it would not carry out any searches.

The resolution demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country, a demand by the Russians and Chinese. Bolton warned Pyongyang, however, that if it continues pursuing nuclear weapons, the U.S. would seek further measures.

The Security Council condemned the nuclear test that North Korea said it conducted on Oct. 9. It demanded that North Korea immediately return to six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to dismantle its weapons program without precondition.

It also imposed sanctions for the North's "flagrant disregard" of the council's appeal not to detonate a nuclear device and demanded that North Korea "not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile."

"This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korean peninsula is nuclear-weapons free," President Bush said.

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