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

After the latest missile test by North Korea at the end of last month, the US intensified its pressure on Beijing. It commits the council to "take action to restrict further the export (to the country) of petroleum". "The case of North Korea is getting more serious with each passing day".

Trump's national security strategy document was released Monday and says that Washington has to confront the challenge posed by North Korea's weapons programs.

North Korea's economy will start to seriously feel the pinch of global and bilateral sanctions next year as a result of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the ministry said.

Two of those changes were extending the deadline for North Korean workers to return home from 12 months to 24 months, which Russian Federation said was the minimum needed, and reducing the number of North Koreans being put on the United Nations sanctions blacklist from 19 to 15.

"Unity is not only important in favor of sanctions, but unity is also important to support a political settlement", he said.

The ministry issued the projection on Tuesday in a report that assessed North Korea's state of affairs for this year and made forecasts for next year.

"China has made enormous efforts to push for settlement through dialogue and negotiations and has paid a price higher than all the other parties for the objective of implementing the council's resolutions", Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao said.

"In searching for the recognition of its status as a de facto nuclear-possessing state, (the North) would explore the possibility of negotiations with the U.S". The total is up 12.5 percent from October's $344.9 million but far lower than $613.2 million a year ago.

"If you think that those toothless "sanctions" could stop the victorious march of our people who have. achieved the historic goal of building the national nuclear weapons, there would not be a bigger mistake than that", the foreign ministry said.

South Korea, for its part, offered encouragement for the path of diplomacy and urged the North to join the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

"North Korea may continue to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities while searching for an outlet externally", the ministry said in its predictions for North Korea in 2018.

The North has defended its missile and nuclear weapons programmes as measures for self-defense against "hostile" U.S. policies towards Pyongyang.

But the significance of mentioning of inter-Korean cooperation, especially with regards to both countries' armed forces, may be more political than military, Delury noted.