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

North Korea vowed not to give up its nuclear weapons program after new sanctions target energy imports

North Korean soldiers march in Pyongyang. File Photo. 2015

North Korean soldiers march in Pyongyang. File Photo. 2015 (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Seoul (dpa) - North Korea has blasted the latest round of UN sanctions against it as an "act of war" and vowed not to give up its nuclear weapons program, in a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved its fourth round of restrictions on Pyongyang this year, hitting North Korea on energy imports and aiming to prevent it from earning hard currency by further limiting its exports.

The move amounted to a "complete economic blockade" and violated peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the statement, which was carried by state-run news agency KCNA early Sunday, continued.

"If the US wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK [North Korea]," the statement said.

Instead, the US should "learn to co-exist" with a nuclear-armed North Korea and "wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons."

It accused the US of imperialism and warned Washington it was "capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the US mainland."

The US-sponsored sanctions passed on Friday were a response to Pyongyang's testing of a ballistic missile last month which experts agreed could reach the US.

They included slashing deliveries of petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and heavy oil from 2 million barrels per year to only 500,000 barrels from January 1.

The sanctions also impose a ban on the export of food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, wood and ships.

In addition, other countries are prohibited under the resolution from selling industrial machinery, transport vehicles, iron, steel and other metals to Pyongyang.

Sixteen individuals were also added to the list of people subject to travel bans and asset freezes and North Korean nationals working in foreign countries and sending money home must be repatriated with 24 months.