During a meeting behind closed doors, the council strongly condemned the test and agreed to begin drafting a new resolution under article 41 of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions.
“The members of the Security Council will begin to work immediately on appropriate measures under article 41 in a Security Council resolution,” New Zealand’s Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, who holds the council’s rotating presidency, told reporters after the urgent talks.
South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China all condemned the blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, the North’s most powerful yet at 10 kilotons.
The council met at the request of Japan, South Korea and the United States to agree on a response, despite resistance from China, Pyongyang’s ally, to calls for tougher measures.
After the meeting, China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi sidestepped questions about Beijing’s support for sanctions.
“We are opposed to testing and we believe that it is more urgent than ever to work together to ensure denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Liu said.
“All sides should refrain from mutual provocation and any action that might exacerbate the situation.”
North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.