Russia and China each signaled Monday a desire for a peaceful resolution to the tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state-run media that no one wants to see war on the Korean Peninsula and that he hopes the United States is not planning a military approach to resolving the situation.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a briefing Monday that all countries should “exercise restraint and make proactive and constructive efforts to ease the tensions on the peninsula.”
China also said new U.N. sanctions should not have a detrimental humanitarian impact on North Korean civilians or affect “normal economic exchanges and cooperation.”
Security Council vote
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday limiting the amount of gasoline and diesel North Korea can import and tightening inspections of ships suspected of illegally carrying banned items to or from North Korea.
The measure also orders U.N. members to send home all North Koreans working in foreign countries to within two years -- a move aimed at cutting off a source of revenue for Kim Jong Un’s government, which routinely confiscates much of their earnings.
The United States estimates as many as 80,000 North Koreans work in China and at least 30,000 in Russia.
North Korea: 'Act of War'
North Korea rejected the new sanctions, calling them an “act of war” and “tantamount to a complete economic blockade.”
“If the U.S. wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy...and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons,” a statement carried by the official North Korea news agency said. It also threatened that all nations that back the resolution will “pay a heavy price.”
Previous U.N. sanctions imposed against North Korea have failed to deter it from testing missiles and pursuing nuclear weapons.
The United States has rejected North Korea’s offer to freeze its nuclear ambitions if the U.S. suspends military exercises on and near the Korean Peninsula.