Seoul: Further heightening tensions in the Korean peninsula, North Korea on Friday threatened a war with the South if the latter endorsed a fresh round of tightened UN sanctions, a leading news agency reported.
The threat came as the US imposed more economic sanctions following Pyongyang`s rocket launch last month.
In a third straight day of fiery rhetoric, the North directed its verbal onslaught at its neighbour, saying: "`Sanctions` mean a war and a declaration of war against us."
The reclusive North has this week declared a boycott of all dialogue aimed at ending its nuclear program and vowed to conduct more rocket and nuclear tests after the UN Security Council censured it for a December long-range missile launch.
"If the puppet group of traitors takes a direct part in the UN `sanctions`, the DPRK will take strong physical counter-measures against it," the North`s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said, referring to the South.
The committee is the North`s front for dealings with the South. DPRK is short for the North`s official name, the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea.
The UN Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea`s December rocket launch on Tuesday and expanded existing UN sanctions.
On Thursday, the United States slapped economic sanctions on two North Korean bank officials and a Hong Kong trading company that it accused of supporting Pyongyang`s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The company, Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading Ltd, was separately blacklisted by the United Nations on Wednesday.
Seoul has said it will look at whether there are any further sanctions that it can implement alongside the United States, but said the focus for now is to follow Security Council resolutions.
(With Agency inputs)