Just days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved another "punishing" sanctions package crafted by the U.S., North Korea warned in a statement that the Trump administration's efforts to place economic pressure on the regime constitute an "act of war" that will only accelerate its drive for more powerful nuclear weapons.
"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."
—KCNA, North Korean state news agency
"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," reads Pyongyang's statement, issued by the North Korean state news agency KCNA on Saturday. "There is no more fatal blunder than the miscalculation that the U.S. and its followers could check by already worn-out 'sanctions' the victorious advance of our people who have brilliantly accomplished the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force."
This latest round of sanctions—which were also approved by China and Russia—comes weeks after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that it claimed is capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. That missile test was followed by massive joint military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea, during which an American B-1B supersonic bomber flew over South Korea's eastern coast—a show of force Pyongyang slammed as a signal of America's "extremely reckless war hysteria."
Coinciding with the regime's statement published Saturday, the North Korean foreign ministry insisted that increased economic pressure imposed by the international community will only intensify its drive for greater nuclear capacity.
"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,” it said.
Though the Trump administration initially pushed for a complete ban on all oil imports into North Korea, the sanctions package ultimately approved by the U.N. Security Council seeks to restrict imports to 500,000 barrels a year. The sanctions also demand "the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed," the Guardian reports.
Pyongyang vowed to retaliate against the nations that threw their weight behind the resolution.
"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," the statement concluded.