North Korea slams new UN sanctions as ‘act of war’

Anger follows action by UN Security Council strangling energy supply and ordering North Koreans abroad to return home.

Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's government has conducted several missile tests this year [Franck Robichon/EPA]

North Korea has slammed the latest round of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against Pyongyang as “an act of war” and vowed to consolidate its nuclear programme.

In a statement published by the state-run KCNA news agency on Sunday, the foreign ministry said new measures proposed by the US infringe North Korea’s sovereignty and violate peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.

“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the US 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 ministry said. 

The 15-member UNSC unanimously voted on Friday to impose tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest missile test and vowed to prevent Pyongyang from furthering its nuclear programme.

The measures order North Koreans working abroad to return home within two years and ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to the country.

In its statement, North Korea defended its missile and nuclear weapons programme.

“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,” said the foreign ministry.

It added: “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.”

‘Anger at US’

Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Seoul, said South Korea has not yet responded.

Pyongyang’s statement “comes as no surprise, according to policy watchers and foreign analysts”,” she said. “The language is something that North Korean policy watchers are quite familiar with.

“The statement also seems to have directed much of its anger at the US and this is again not a surprise as it is the US who negotiated the latest round of sanctions.”

Following the vote on Friday, US President Donald Trump endorsed the stricter measures, saying “The World wants Peace, not Death!” on Twitter.

The latest UN sanctions were the third imposed on North Korea this year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s government has conducted several missile tests this year, which have drawn condemnation from the international community.

The fresh sanctions, which also prohibit the supply of industrial machinery to North Korea and the purchase of food and agricultural products from the country, are in response to North Korea’s test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29.

Both Russia and China supported the new move, despite previously raising concerns that not enough was being done to promote diplomatic resolutions to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Those countries that raised their hands in favour of this ‘sanctions resolution’ shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done,” North Korea’s foreign ministry statement read. 

An estimated 93,000 North Koreans work abroad and send money back home, helping the government to fund its weapons programmes.

Source: Al Jazeera