N Korea slams new United Nations sanctions as an 'act of war'

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North Korea regularly threatens to destroy South Korea, the United States and Japan, and says its weapons are necessary to counter USA aggression.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution toughening sanctions against North Korea following its November 29 ballistic missile test. The resolution issued last week was a rebuke to North Korea that prompted Pyongyang to declare that it would further upgrade its nuclear force.

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

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

To try to reduce smuggling and ship-to-ship transfers of North Korean coal and other banned goods, the measure says countries can "seize, inspect, freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports" if there are grounds to believe the vessel was used to transport banned items.

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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 USA military assets in the region.

The Joongang Ilbo Daily newspaper, citing an unnamed South Korean government official, reported on Tuesday that North Korea could also be preparing to launch a satellite into space.

"We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the USA nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the U.S", it said.

"If such sanctions were enforced, they would thus impede and endanger North Korea's economic development".

"Those countries that raised their hands in favor 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".

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

Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

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.

China, which accounts for about 90 percent of the North's trade and is a main supplier of oil to the country, also insisted on diplomacy.

It suggested the United States had wanted an even harsher resolution, and noted there was no indication in the resolution that the United Nations could grant the United States permission for military action.

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