North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches this year. For months Washington has said North Korea could conduct a nuclear bomb test, the first since 2017, at any time.

“If they think that they can escape from the present dangerous situation through ‘sanctions,’ they must be really idiots as they do not know how to live in peace and comfort,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement.

The United States has urged the United Nations Security Council to hold North Korea accountable for its missile tests in one voice, accusing China and Russia of “emboldening” Pyongyang by blocking Security Council action.

China and Russia backed tighter sanctions following Pyongyang’s last nuclear test in 2017, but in May both vetoed a US-led push for more UN penalties over its renewed missile launches.

“We warn the impudent and stupid once again that the desperate sanctions and pressure of the US and its South Korean stooges against the DPRK will add fuel to the latter’s hostility and anger,” Kim Yo Jong said, using the initials of the North’s official name.