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North Korea describes latest U.N. sanctions as an "act of war"

“Act of war”

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea on Sunday called the latest U.N. sanctions to target the country "an act of war" that violates its sovereignty, and said it is a "pipe dream" for the United States to think it will give up its nuclear weapons.

The United Nations Security Council imposed tough new sanctions Friday in response to a ballistic missile North Korea said can reach the U.S.

The resolution adopted by all 15 council members didn't go as far as the toughest-ever sanctions that have been sought by the Trump administration, such as prohibiting all oil imports and freezing international assets of North Korea's government and its leader, Kim Jong Un. But it was a sign that China has come around to ratcheting up of pressure on Pyongyang, CBS News' Pamela Falk reported from the U.N. The unanimous passage showed that Beijing is working with Washington to increase economic pressure on the North Korean regime in response to its nuclear program.

"It sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishment and isolation," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said of the resolution after a Friday vote.

On Sunday, North Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement the sanctions are tantamount to a "complete economic blockade" of North Korea.

"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 statement said.

Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes a closing remark at 5th Conference of Cell Chairpersons of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on December 23 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 24, 2017. KCNA via Reuters

"If the U.S. 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.

U.N. approves new North Korea sanctions

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 U.N. sanctions blacklist from 19 to 15.

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