North Korea on Sunday called the latest round of punishing United Nations sanctions an “act of war,” and reminded the United States that the North’s rapid development of missiles and atomic bombs meant it posed a “substantial nuclear threat to the U.S. mainland.”
In a statement released by the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency, North Korea said the sanctions approved unanimously on Friday by the United Nations Security Council were tantamount to a blockade, and it threated to retaliate against the United States and the council’s 14 other member nations.
“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the U.S. nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the U.S.,” the Foreign Ministry statement read.
The sanctions, proposed by the United States and adopted by a vote of 15 to 0, were the third imposed this year in a continuing effort to get the North to halt its weapons program and return to the negotiating table.
Under the new sanctions, fuel supplies will be drastically cut, and roughly 100,000 North Koreans working in other countries will be expelled within two years. The sanctions are intended to hurt North Korea in two vital ways: Cutting refined petroleum imports by 89 percent would exacerbate the country’s fuel crisis, and expelling foreign guest workers would substantially reduce remittances, an important source of hard currency.
“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 peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region, and categorically reject the ‘resolution,’ ” the North said in its statement.
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