The U.N. First Committee on Monday endorsed a resolution calling for the elimination of all nuclear armaments, Kyodo News reported.
Ninety-seven nations co-sponsored the measure introduced by Japan, and 159 governments voted in support of the declaration. China, India, Pakistan, Syria and eight other nations took no formal stance, while North Korea alone opposed the text.
The United Kingdom for the first time was a sponsor for the statement, which the disarmament-focused body has now approved in 19 consecutive annual sessions; Washington has endorsed similar measures since 2009. The U.N. General Assembly is set to consider the proposal early next month.
"We work often with the British on a number of issues and we believe that is why they have sponsored this resolution for the first time," Japanese diplomat Mari Amano said, adding that Hurricane Sandy might have interfered with a bid to win additional co-sponsors.
The text says it is critical that nations abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Countries outside the regime should begin participating in the near future to attain a "world free of nuclear weapons," it adds.
North Korea, India and Israel voted unsuccessfully to eliminate a call in the text for all countries to join the nonproliferation treaty, the United Nations said in a statement. In total, 165 nations backed the language while Pakistan, which possesses nuclear arms outside the NPT regime, joined two other nations in abstaining from the vote.
Language in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty's ratification received 165 supportive votes and a vote in opposition from North Korea. India, Iran, Mauritius and Syria took no stance.
Islamabad and Beijing registered their opposition to a line calling for restrictions on production of bomb-usable fissile material. India, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and three other countries abstained.
Pyongyang alone voted against the document's call for the broad application of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.
The document placed Pyongyang on notice over its "uranium enrichment program and light water reactor construction," as well as a long-range rocket fired by the nation in April, Kyodo reported.
Meanwhile, 159 countries voted in favor of a second measure to express alarm over the existential threat posed by atomic arsenals, according to the U.N. release. The text -- opposed by nuclear-armed states France, India, Israel, North Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- expresses consternation over the failure of the international Conference on Disarmament and other forums to advance efforts to launch multination talks on the abolition of atomic arms.
Pakistan alone voted in opposition to another measure addressing a potential fissile material cutoff agreement.
The committee on Monday backed a total of 26 measures addressing matters including nuclear bombs and other unconventional armaments, space and arms control issues. Missiles, the spread of atomic materials and systems in the Persian Gulf region and a Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty were among subjects addressed in the documents.