North Korea says U.N. sanctions against the country are a declaration of war

The U.N. sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear test are a declaration of war, and the country will "deal merciless blows" if the nation's sovereignty is violated, the North's central government said Tuesday in its first response to the U.N. measures.

The North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency that the country wants "peace but is not afraid of war."

The North "vehemently denounces the resolution, a product of the U.S. hostile policy toward (the North) and totally refutes it," the statement said.

"The resolution cannot be construed otherwise than a declaration of a war" against the North, it said.

The country warned that if anyone used the U.N. resolution to infringe on the country's sovereignty, "it will deal merciless blows at him through strong actions."

The U.N. sanctions, passed Saturday, bans the sale of major arms to the North and orders the inspection of cargo to and from the country. It also calls for the freezing of assets of business supplying the North's nuclear and ballistic weapons programs, reports AP.

The North "will closely follow the future U.S. attitude and take corresponding measures," the statement said, without specifying what those measures would be.