North Korea highest-ever ballistic missile fired on 28 November 2017

Reports say North Korea has described the latest UN sanctions imposed on the country as an “act of war”.

A foreign ministry statement said the measures were tantamount to a total economic blockade, the official KCNA news agency reported.

It added that strengthening North Korea’s deterrence was the only way to frustrate the US.

The UN Security Council imposed the new sanctions on Friday in response to Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests.

The US-drafted resolution – unanimously backed by all 15 Security Council members – includes measures to slash North Korea’s petrol imports by up to 90 percent.

North Korea is already subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU.

Pyongyang described the latest UN sanctions “as a violent breach of our republic’s sovereignty and an act of war that destroys the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and a wide region.

“The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country.

“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the US,” read the statement from North Korea.

What exactly are the new sanctions?

The US said it was seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue and drafted this new set of sanctions:

  • Deliveries of petrol products will be capped at 500,000 barrels a year, and crude oil at four million barrels a year
  • All North Korean nationals working abroad will have to return home within 24 months under the proposals, restricting a vital source of foreign currency
  • There will also be a ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment

The UN sanctions came in response to Pyongyang’s 28 November firing of a ballistic missile, which the US said was its highest yet.

US President Donald Trump has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it launches a nuclear attack.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described the US president as “mentally deranged”.

What about previous sanctions?

Last month, the US unveiled fresh sanctions against North Korea which it said were designed to limit the funding for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

The measures targeted North Korean shipping operations and Chinese companies that trade with Pyongyang.

The UN also approved new sanctions following North Korea’s nuclear test on 3 September.

These measures restricted oil imports and banned textile exports – an attempt to starve the North of fuel and income for its weapons programmes.

On the 28th of November this year,  reports said North Korea  fired its highest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile which landed in Japanese waters.

It reached an altitude of 4 500 kilometres and flew 960 kilometres, according to South Korea’s military.

-BBC