All 15 members of the Security Council co-sponsored and voted for the resolution, which demands that North Korea ends all its nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes.
The resolution passed on Saturday declared that North Korea's purported nuclear test posed "a clear threat to international peace and security".
A travel ban has been placed on North Korean weapons programmes officials and funds belonging to people or businesses connected to them will be frozen.
The US-draft resolution requires all countries to prevent Pyongyang trading in missiles, tanks, large artillery systems, warships and combat aircraft as well as permitting the inspection of cargo being sent to and from North Korea.
Array of sanctions
In addition to an array of financial and other sanctions it calls on Pyongyang to return "without pre-condition" to the six-nation talks on its nuclear programme that it has boycotted for nearly a year.
The vote came after hours of talks during which the US, Britain and France overcame last-minute differences with Russia and China. The resolution specifically rules out military action, a key Russian and Chinese demand.
"Today we are sending a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would-be proliferators that there will be serious repercussions in continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction," John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, told the council.
"Today we are sending a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would-be proliferators that there will be serious repercussions in continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction"
US Ambassador to the UN
North Korea's ambassador to the UN responded by saying that Pyongyang "totally rejects" the resolution and accused the security council of "double standards".
"If the United States increases pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of [North] Korea, the DPRK will continue to take physical counter-measures considering it as a declaration of war," Ambassador Pak Gil Yon said.
Earlier, George Bush, the US president, had used his weekly radio address to urge the council to adopt tough measures.
"Nations around the world, including our partners in the six-party talks, agree on the need for a strong United Nations Security Council resolution that will require North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programmes," Bush said.
He said the resolution "will send a clear message to the North Korean regime that its actions will not be tolerated", and that Pyongyang will face "real consequences if it continues down its current path".
US officials said Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, will visit China, Japan and South Korea next week to discuss how to implement the sanctions.