Latest UN Sanctions Are An Act Of War, North Korea Says

Citing unnamed sources, the daily said there was a dramatic step-up in preparations for a military response to North Korea's missile tests.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved the sanctions in response to North Korea's latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says can reach anywhere on the US mainland.

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 global assets of North Korea's government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The UN resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.

"In searching for the recognition of its status as a de facto nuclear-possessing state, (the North) would explore the possibility of negotiations with the U.S".

The third raft of sanctions imposed on the North this year, sparked by last month's ICBM test, also received the backing of China - the North's sole major ally and economic lifeline.

North Korea's economy will start to seriously feel the pinch of worldwide and bilateral sanctions next year as a result of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the ministry said.

North Korea has a fledgling space program, but critics argue it is a cover for developing ballistic missiles, which use much of the same technology as satellites.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on November 29 declared the nuclear force complete after the test of North Korea's largest-ever ICBM test, which the country said puts all of the United States within range. China's ambassador warned against "tough posturing and confrontation". There was no immediate reaction from the White House or North Korea to the South Korean prediction.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has long advocated for increased dialogue with North Korea.

Tensions have been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which years of United Nations resolutions have failed to deter the regime from pursuing.

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

"It should also give up dreams that we will abandon our nuclear weapons", the ministry said.

But the significance of mentioning of inter-Korean cooperation, especially with regards to both countries' armed forces, may be more political than military, Delury noted.

  • Joey Payne