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North Korea calls new UN sanctions 'an act of war'

North Korea has called the latest UN sanctions to target the country "an act of war" that violates its sovereignty.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says can reach anywhere on the US mainland.

The resolution was drafted by the United States and negotiated with the North's closest ally, China.

North Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that the sanctions are an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and are tantamount to a "complete economic blockade" of the country.

A spokesman also said it is a "pipe dream" for the US to think North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons.

"If the US wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships," said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The resolution adopted by the Security Council includes sharply lower limits on North Korea's refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

US President Donald Trump's administration's success in achieving the resolution won praise from the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin of Maryland. "That was a good move," the senator said, "a major accomplishment".

Mr Cardin said the stepped-up sanctions should be followed by diplomacy aimed at bringing the US and China together on a sustained effort to ease tensions in that region.

But the resolution does not include even harsher measures sought by the Trump administration that would ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The resolution drew criticism from Russia for the short time the Security Council nations had to consider the draft, and last-minute changes to the text.

Two of those changes were extending the deadline for North Korean workers to return home from 12 months to 24 months - which Russia said was the minimum needed - and reducing the number of North Koreans being put on the UN sanctions blacklist from 19 to 15.


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