"So we've got to work at this problem and bring about a diplomatic solution that stops the development of North Korea's nuclear programme and enforces the sanctions we have at the moment".
United States diplomats have called for an oil embargo, an assets freeze against leader Kim Jong-Un, a ban on textiles and an end to payments of North Korean guest workers in response to the nation's sixth nuclear test last week.
The resolution, passed after Washington toned down its original proposals to secure backing from China and Russian Federation, came just one month after the council banned exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Sir Michael Fallon said war must be avoided "at all costs" and stressed the desire for a diplomatic solution, given that the dangers of a "miscalculation" triggering a military response against North Korea are "extremely great".
"We are not looking for war".
The sanctions, which were passed at a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, were met with anger by North Korea. "The choice is theirs".
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Throughout last week, South Korean officials had warned the North could launch another intercontinental ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. sanctions and amid an escalating standoff with the United States.
The measures restrict oil imports and ban textile exports.
"The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return".
A proposed asset freeze and travel ban on leader Kim Jong-un have also been dropped.
It was the eighth series of sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006. "Unless we firmly apply pressure, North Korea will not change its direction".
Several days before the test, Pyongyang launched a missile over Japan.
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Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later". China, Pyongyang's main economic ally, supplies most of North Korea's crude oil.
But the new measures instead only place limits on such products.
That would amount to a 10 percent cut in oil products, according to the US Energy Information Administration, which estimates annual exports to North Korea at almost 2.2 million barrels.
The US had called for the harshest ever sanctions on North Korea including a total ban on oil imports, a measure seen by some analysts as hugely destabilising for the regime. The blast, which came weeks after the country fired off two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that appeared to bring much of the mainland United States into range, prompted global condemnation and calls to ramp up sanctions against the isolated nation.
On September 3, the North Korean army carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test with a hydrogen bomb that triggered widespread condemnation by the worldwide community and has further elevated tensions in the region.
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