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North Korea Denounces New U.S. Sanctions As 'Act Of War'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

North Korea has condemned the latest U.S. sanctions targeting its regime, accusing Washington of trying to hamper an improvement in ties with South Korea during the Winter Olympics.

The February 25 statement carried by North Korea's official KCNA news agency came days after U.S. President Donald Trump's administration announced new punitive measures it says are aimed at pressuring Pyongyang over its nuclear and weapons programs.

"The two Koreas have cooperated together and the Olympics were held successfully," KCNA cited the North Korean Foreign Ministry as saying.

"But the U.S. brought the threat of war to the Korean Peninsula with large-scale new sanctions on the DPRK ahead of the [February 25] Olympics closing ceremony," KCNA said, using an acronym for the reclusive authoritarian state's official name.

The new U.S. sanctions target more than 50 shipping companies, vessels, and firms linked to North Korea.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that a blockade would be considered an "act of war," according to KCNA.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP