UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a package of unprecedented sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

The US-drafted resolution, also backed by China, was passed on Wednesday after seven weeks of intense negotiations. Under the resolution, UN member states are required, for the first time, to inspect all cargo to and from North Korea , impose trade restrictions on the country and bars vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.

Exports of coal, iron and iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea are also banned while the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel to the country is also prohibited. The measure tightens banking restrictions on North Korea and governments are to be required to ban flights of any plane suspected of carrying contraband destined for North Korea .

“These are among the toughest measures we have agreed against any country in the world, certainly the toughest ever against the DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” said British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft. The sanctions also add a total of 16 individuals and 12 entities to a UN sanctions blacklist and additional luxury items such as watches and sports equipment are added to the list of luxury items banned from sale to North Korea . “Depending on the behaviour and attitude of the DPRK, the security council is prepared to suspend or lift sanctions,” Japan’s Ambassador to the UN Motohide Yoshikawa said. On January 6, Pyongyang said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, vowing to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the United States.

A month later, on February 7, North Korea launched a long-range rocket that it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington and South Korea denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 because of its four nuclear tests and multiple rocket launches.

The sanctions came in response to its recent nuclear test and Feb. 7 rocket launch that Washington and its allies said used banned ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang said it was a peaceful satellite launch. The list of explicitly banned luxury goods has been expanded to include luxury watches, aquatic recreational vehicles, snowmobiles worth more than $2,000, lead crystal items and recreational sports equipment.

The official North Korean news agency KCNA said on Monday the proposed sanctions were "a wanton infringement on (North Korea's) sovereignty and grave challenge to it."

The proposal closes a gap in the UN arms embargo on Pyongyang by banning all weapons imports and exports.

There is also an unprecedented ban on the transfer to North Korea of any item that could directly contribute to the operational capabilities of its armed forces, such as trucks that could be modified for military purposes.