Mar 7, 2013 / 8:22 am
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously for tough new sanctions to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test, a move that sparked a furious Pyongyang to threaten a nuclear strike against the United States.
The vote Thursday by the UN's most powerful body on a resolution drafted by North Korea's closest ally, China, and the United States sends a powerful message to North Korea that the international community condemns its ballistic missile and nuclear tests — and its repeated violation of Security Council resolutions.
The new sanctions are aimed at making it more difficult for North Korea to finance and obtain material for its weapons programs.
An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said early Thursday the North will exercise its right for "a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.
Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for several crude nuclear devices.
Such inflammatory rhetoric is common from North Korea, and especially so in recent days. North Korea is angry over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills. At a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday, tens of thousands of North Koreans protested the U.S.-South Korean war drills and sanctions.
The statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman accused the U.S. of leading efforts to slap sanctions on North Korea. The statement said the new sanctions would only advance the timing for North Korea to fulfil previous vows to take "powerful second and third countermeasures" against its enemies. It hasn't elaborated on those measures.
The statement said North Korea "strongly warns the UN Security Council not to make another big blunder like the one in the past when it earned the inveterate grudge of the Korean nation by acting as a war servant for the U.S. in 1950."
North Korea demanded the UN Security Council immediately dismantle the American-led UN Command that's based in Seoul and move to end the state of war that exists on the Korean Peninsula, which continues six decades after fighting stopped because an armistice, not a peace treaty, ended the war.
In anticipation of the resolution's adoption, North Korea earlier in the week threatened to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean War.
North Korean threats have become more common as tensions have escalated following a rocket launch by Pyongyang in December and its third nuclear test on Feb. 12. Both acts defied three Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology and from importing or exporting material for these programs.
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