North Korea has warned that the US would turn into a "sea of fire" after the UN announced a fresh round of punitive sanctions over the country's weapons programme.

On Saturday, 5 August, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to impose economic sanctions targeting the exports of seafood, coal, iron ore, iron, lead and lead ore. The US-drafted resolution also calls for capping the number of North Korean workers allowed overseas – those who earn money for the reclusive Pyongyang regime.

"The day the US dares tease our nation with a nuclear rod and sanctions, the mainland US will be catapulted into an unimaginable sea of fire," North Korea's Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial carried on Sunday, 6 August. North Korea is known for its rhetoric against its adversaries whenever sanctions are announced.

"The more the Trump gang strives to break out of today's quagmire, the more our military and people get aroused, giving more reasons for the (North Korean) republic to own nuclear weapons. A strong war deterrence is an essential strategic choice of national defence for our people who went through a horrendous war," added the editorial in North Korea's official newspaper.

As part of the UN's measures, asset freezes and travel limitations are being clamped on nine North Korean individuals and four entities. However, supplies of oil to North Korea are exempted, reportedly due to China and Russia's concerns. The US hailed the latest measure as the "most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation".

South Korea, the North's bitter rival, was quick to welcome the fresh sanctions. "Through the resolution, the UNSC strongly condemned North Korean ballistic missiles and imposed more strengthened sanctions, proclaiming once again the international community's determination that it will never condone North Korea's nuclear and missile development," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

US South Korea drill
US Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea's missile system firing Hyunmu-2 firing a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-US joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea's ICBM test on 29 July, 2017 South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images