North Korea said Sunday the latest round of United Nations sanctions are tantamount to full economic blockade against Pyongyang, describing it as an act of war, threatening retaliatory action against supporters of the sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday voted in a unanimous effort to impose the new sanctions that targets oil supplies and North Koreans that work abroad following a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test on Nov. 29 that the North.
The sanctions, proposed in a United States resolution, aim to ban some 90 per cent of refined petroleum imports to the North via a cap at 500,000 barrels a year and a crude oil cap at four million barrels per year, with further reductions if there are more tests.
News agencies reported that a last minute change added the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within two years instead of the proposed 12 months.
KCNA, the state-run news agency of the North, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, quoted the foreign ministry as saying the U.S. was “terrified” by its nuclear force.
Washington is getting “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest ever sanctions and pressure on our country”, reported the Korean Central News Agency.
“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating the peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” the statement said.
The foreign ministry statement said that Pyongyang would “categorically reject the ‘resolution’.”
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said after the Nov. 29 ICBM test that his country’s nuclear ambitions had been reached and the entire United States mainland was within range of its deadly arsenal.
On Friday, the leader told members of his Workers’ Party that the DPRK “successfully realized the historical cause of completing the state nuclear force” in dispute of a “short supply of everything”, describing “despicable anti-DPRK moves of the enemies”.
South Korea, formally the Republic of Korea, or ROK, told Reuters news agency in response to sanctions that the North should be “immediately cease reckless provocations, and take the path of dialogue for denuclearization and peace”.
Over the course of 2017, North Korea has carried out nuclear and several missile tests in direct contradiction to over six rounds of United Nations sanctions against the isolated east Asian country.
However, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has maintained that its nuclear weapon ambitions are for self-defense purposes and not in contradiction of international law.
“Those countries that raised their hands in favor” of the fresh sanctions passed by the Security Council “shall be held completely responsible for all consequences” and will “pay a heavy price for what they have done”, Pyongyang said in the statement.
Recently, North Korea’s closest ally China has gone against it in following through with sanctions and trade cuts.
More details to follow. Image 1 of North Korea’s leader Kim Jung Un from Slate.