North Korea says United Nations sanctions are an 'act of war'

North Korea on Sunday called the latest U.N. sanctions to target the country "an act of war" that violates its sovereignty and said it is a "pipe dream" for the United States to think it will give up its nuclear weapons.

The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers overseas.

The North Korean statement described the latest 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 third raft of sanctions imposed on the North this year came about three weeks after Pyongyang test-fired its longest-range inter-continental ballistic missile, which it said was capable of striking all major U.S. cities.

The statement continued: "The US should not forget even a second the entity of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the US mainland".

China called for restraint Monday, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying that nations should "make positive and constructive efforts to de-escalate tensions" on the Korean Peninsula.

The security council resolution limits North Korea's access to refined petroleum and crude oil to 500,000 barrels a year.

The country's vow to strengthen its military to secure its policy of nuclear deterrence is a strong move that could spark World War 3. The UN's top envoy to North Korea, Jeffrey Feltman, said this month that he was "deeply worried" about the prospects of a diplomatic solution to the crisis after meeting officials in Pyongyang.

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.

Under the new sanctions, a number was also imposed on earnings for North Koreans working overseas - who would have to return to the country within 24 months.

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