The latest UN sanctions imposed on North Korea have been described by Pyongyang as an “act of war”.
A North Korea’s foreign ministry statement said the measures were tantamount to a total economic blockade, the official KCNA news agency reported.
The statement added that strengthening North Korea’s deterrence was the only way to frustrate the US.
On December 22, the UN Security Council imposed the new sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests.
The US-drafted resolution – unanimously backed by all 15 Security Council members – includes measures to cut North Korea’s petrol imports by up to 90%.
North Korea is already subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU.
Characteristically bellicose, North Korea described the latest UN sanctions “as a violent breach of our republic’s sovereignty and an act of war that destroys the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and a wide region: “The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country.
“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the US.”
The US said it was seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue and drafted this new set of sanctions, including deliveries of petrol products will be capped at 500,000 barrels a year, and crude oil at four million barrels a year; all North Korean nationals working abroad will have to return home within 24 months under the proposals, restricting a vital source of foreign currency.
There will also be a ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment.
The UN sanctions came in response to North Korea’s November 28 firing of a ballistic missile, which the US said was its highest yet.
President Donald Trump has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it launches a nuclear attack while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described the American president as “mentally deranged”.