UN Security Council
UN Security Council Reuters

The United Nations on Wednesday adopted the toughest sanctions to date on North Korea, in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch, AFP reported.

The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution imposing new sanctions after seven weeks of arduous negotiations between the United States and China, Pyongyang's sole ally.

Among the unprecedented measures is a new requirement that all countries must inspect cargo destined for and coming from North Korea, in all airports and sea ports.

The resolution bans or restricts exports of coal, iron and iron ore and other minerals from North Korea, and prohibits the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel, according to AFP.

North Korea earns about $1 billion per year in coal exports -- a third of all export revenues -- and about $200 million annually from iron ore sales, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told the council.

President Barack Obama welcomed the measures as "a firm, united, and appropriate response" to the January 6 nuclear test and February 7 rocket launch.

"The international community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people," Obama said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

Under the resolution, banking restrictions will be tightened and governments will be required to ban flights of any plane suspected of carrying contraband destined for North Korea.

It also tightens an arms embargo by banning sales of small arms and bars vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.

Under the measure, UN member states will expel North Korean diplomats engaged in smuggling or other illegal activities.

A total of 16 individuals and 12 entities were added to a UN sanctions blacklist, including North Korea's NADA space agency and its spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department separately announced sanctions against two entities and 10 individuals with ties to North Korea's weapons programs, and the State Department added three entities and two individuals to its sanctions blacklist, according to AFP.

The United States imposed new sanctions on North Korea following its February 6 test in which it launched a long-range rocket.

The latest sanctions on Pyongyang come  despite reports that before the last nuclear test, the United States sought a peace treaty with North Korea.