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Valeriy Sharifulin  TASS

On December 22, the UN Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea in response to last month's launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the USA mainland.

The sanctions are aimed at choking off external sources of funding for North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile development programs after repeated tests this year have brought the Asian nation to what experts say is the brink of developing devastating weapons that can be delivered halfway around the world.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE said he would not be willing to start diplomatic talks unless North Korea agrees to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Monday the United States and North Korea to launch negotiations, reported the RIA news agency.

"If the U.S. wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to coexist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships", said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. North Korean officials said that the test put U.S. within the range of its ICBM.

South Korea predicted today that their hostile neighbours would look to open negotiations with the United States next year in an optimistic outlook for 2018.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Tensions have risen over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and has recently threatened to land missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions was prompted by the November 29 test of what North Korea said was an intercontinental ballistic missile that put the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and regularly carries out military exercises with Seoul.

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