Pyongyang on Sunday called the latest decision by the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions an “act of war.”
The new sanctions, approved unanimously on Friday, ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea, capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.
In addition, all North Koreans working abroad must be repatriated within the next 24 months – an improvement for the rogue nation, who would have faced a closure after 12 months in the initial proposal.
Crude oil supplies to North Korea are capped at four million barrels per year – for now – with the possibility of a further reduction to be considered if Pyongyang launches another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or conducts another nuclear test.
In response, North Korea said it would “make sure forever and ever” to punish those who supported the sanctions. In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the DPRK said the UN Security Council’s member nations would “pay a heavy price for what they have done.”
The new sanctions, said Pyongyang, were 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,’” said the DPRK’s foreign ministry.
The fact that Russia and China joined in this round of voting was seen as deeply significant by geopolitical analysts around the world.
The state-run Chinese Global Times said on Saturday in its editorial that the new resolution was aimed at preventing war.
“The difference between the new resolution and the original U.S. proposal reflects the will of China and Russia to prevent war and chaos on the Korean peninsula,” wrote the Chinese news outlet.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that Washington would “continue to match the Kim regime’s choice of aggressive action with actions of international sanctions.” She called the DPRK rogue government the “most tragic example of evil in the modern world.”