North Korea calls new United Nations sanctions an "act of war"

North Korea calls new United Nations sanctions an

"The adoption of the resolution was made possible exclusively thanks to the fact that our concerns were reflected and accounted for", said Russian deputy envoy Vladimir Safronkov, who stressed that key activities such as diplomacy in North Korea and the operations of the country's airline are exempted from the sanctions.

To be prohibited similarly are exports to North Korea of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals.

North Korea vowed to punish those who supported the resolution, which was passed unanimously by the UN Security Council on Friday.

The UN on Saturday voted to toughen the sanctions on the isolated dictatorship, imposing a ban of almost 90% of refined petroleum exports to the country.

In its 2018 forecast, South Korea's Unification Ministry said it believed the North would eventually find ways to blunt the effects of the sanctions, which seek to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers overseas. The resolution issued last week was a rebuke to North Korea that prompted Pyongyang to declare that it would further upgrade its nuclear force.

"We define this "sanctions resolution" rigged up by the USA and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the "resolution", it said.

Pyongyang is developing its nuclear weapons to protect its sovereignty and people's lives against "the blackmail of American imperialists", it said.

While North Korea has not yet agreed to talks with the United States about ending its nuclear weapons program, it has grown increasingly anxious about the increase in US military assets in the region.

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Camera IconThis photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken on December 23, 2017 and released on December 24, 2017 shows the 5th Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea Cell Chairpersons.

At the same time, the North is also likely to attempt to engage with South Korea in order to restore inter-Korean relations next year, it also said.

"The U.S. should not forget even a second the entity of the DPRK which rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the U.S. mainland", it added.

The sanctions include drastically lowering limits on North Korea's oil imports.

"It sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishment and isolation", said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley after the 15-0 vote.

President Donald Trump had already wanted more significant restrictions on the sale of oil to North Korea in September, after the regime conducted an underground nuclear test on Sept. 2, 2017, that was claimed to be of a hydrogen bomb.

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