North Korea is lashing out yet again, warning the United States it will take a "dangerous and big step" towards nuclear war if it enforces a naval blockade.
The communist regime said it would take "merciless self-defensive" measures.
North Korea state media said the Trump administration was "pursuing a policy of military confrontation, but this is nothing but a death-bed struggle by those alarmed by the might of the DPRK always emerging victorious."
"Should the United States and its followers try to enforce the naval blockade against our country, we will see it as an act of war and respond with merciless self-defensive counter-measures as we have warned repeatedly," said Korean Central News Agency, citing a foreign ministry spokesman.
However, Pentagon officials told CBN News they can neither confirm nor deny a blockade plan is in the works.
President Donald Trump accused China on Thursday of being caught "red handed" selling oil to the North Koreans, in apparent violation of U.N. sanctions. South Korea released information that appeared to support his claim.
South Korean authorities said Friday that on Nov. 24 they seized and inspected a Hong Kong-flagged vessel that on Oct. 19 transferred 600 tons of refined petroleum to a North Korean vessel.
A blockade to enforce trade sanctions is not believed to be imminent, but in light of North Korea's November rocket test, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was a possibility.
White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warned in September, however, that even 'non-strike' options carried the risk of military escalation.