The Council met in urgent closed door session within hours after North Korea's nuclear-test announcement. After a 30-minute session, the Council issued a statement condemning the apparent nuclear blast, calling for Pyongyang to abandon further tests.
The Council president for October, Japan's U.N. ambassador, Kenzo Oshima, read the statement, referring to North Korea by its formal initials, DPRK.
"It is the desire of the Security Council to find appropriate measures in order to respond to this act of DPRK, which poses a threat to peace and security in the region and beyond. Council members emphasized that that response should be strong, swift and very, very clear in its message and in its action."
The Council warned North Korea last Friday not to conduct the tests. The warning followed Resolution 1695, adopted last July, which imposed weapons-related sanctions in response to a flurry of North Korean ballistic missile tests.
Noting North Korea's defiance of both previous measures, U.S.-U.N. Ambassador John Bolton proposed tougher sanctions. They include international inspections on cargo going into and out of North Korea, a total arms embargo, and a freeze on assets connected to Pyongyang's weapons program.
He said the Council must make any new penalties legally-binding under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter.
"They have defied the council again. In discussions we had, it was really quite remarkable, I laid out the number of elements the United States is asking for Council members to consider in Chapter Seven resolution. ... and the entire discussion in which all 15 Council members participated took only 30 minutes. And that's remarkable in the Security Council to have a unanimous condemnation of the North Korean test. No one defended it."
China and Russia, which have in the past opposed tough measures against Pyongyang, joined in the Security Council condemnation. But Beijing's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said the "door is still open" for a diplomatic solution.
"I think, we have to react firmly, but, also, I believe that, on the other hand, the door to solve this issue from diplomatic point of view is still open."
North Korea's U.N. ambassador, Pak Gil Yon, remained defiant. He did not attend the Security Council meeting, but in an encounter with reporters, he called the Council's actions 'ridiculous,' and said he is proud of his country's accomplishment.
"Testing was so successful. Today, and this will be a great contribution in maintaining and guaranteeing the peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and the region."
The North Korean envoy said it would be better for the Security Council to congratulate Pyongyang, rather than pass what he called "useless resolutions."
The nuclear test overshadowed the Security Council's nomination of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon as the next U.N. Secretary-General. Ban was quoted Monday as saying he hopes to visit Pyongyang after he takes office January first.