New sanctions an act of war

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North Korea slammed fresh United Nations sanctions imposed over its missile tests as an "act of war" on Sunday, its first response to the latest diplomatic move to punish Pyongyang's ever-accelerating weapons drive. This has been put back to two years instead of 12 months, which was originally proposed.

"If the USA wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships", said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the USA nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the United States", KCNA quoted the unnamed spokesman as saying. "We define this "sanctions resolution" rigged up by the United States and its followers as a grave infringement".

Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

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China's deputy United Nations ambassador, Wu Haitao, said it's "imperative" to pursue a peaceful settlement and resume dialogue and negotiations at an early date, warning that resorting to force "will only lead to disastrous consequences".

"We repeatedly offered Pyongyang a choice and repeatedly, in its continued missile tests, the regime had chosen the path of isolation".

North Korea has said the latest sanctions are tantamount to a complete economic blockade, according to Reuters.

This picture taken on December 21, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 22, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering his speech during the opening of the 5th Conference of Cell Chairpersons of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang. "We will continue to match the Kim regime's choice of aggressive action with actions of worldwide sanctions".

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In reaction to the sanctions passing on Friday, Trump tweeted: "The World wants Peace, not Death!"

The Chinese foreign ministry pointed out that the new resolution also reiterated the need for a peaceful outcome through diplomacy in a move to stabilize the situation.

Global Times, an ultra conservative state-owned tabloid, stressed the sanctions were aimed at preventing war. According to the U.S. Mission, there are almost 100,000 overseas North Korean workers, with about 50,000 in China and 30,000 in Russian Federation.

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