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 two officials were listed last Friday in a new United Nations Security Council resolution sanctioning North Korea, Treasury said. The U.N.'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 U.S. -drafted resolution will impose a tighter cap starting in January on diesel, kerosene and other refined petroleum product exports to North Korea, dropping the limit to 500,000 barrels annually from 2 million barrels a year as it stands now.
Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.
"We define this "sanctions resolution" rigged up by the USA 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, '" the statement said.
North Korea on Sunday rejected the resolution, calling it an act of war.
The resolution drew criticism from Russian Federation for the short time the Security Council nations had to consider the draft, and last-minute changes to the text.
The Unification Ministry says next year, North Korea is likely to explore the possibility of holding talks with the USA while seeking recognition as a nuclear-weapons state.
While denouncing North Korea's "unacceptable" nuclear and missile programs as well as the "tremendous risks" posed by its unannounced launches, Safronkov urged the "establishment of an atmosphere of trust among states in the region" through the de-escalation of military activity by multiple parties.
China, with which North Korea does some 90 percent of its trade, has repeatedly called for calm and restraint from all sides and for a return to talks. "The case of North Korea is getting more serious with each passing day". The measure also prohibits insurance for all North Korean-affiliated vessels.
In addition, the resolution subjects the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces and 16 more North Korean individuals to a global asset freeze and travel ban.