North Korea has rejected a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to its nuclear arms program. Pyongyang says it will defy the new sanctions and pursue its goal of becoming a full-fledge nuclear weapons state.
Not only did North Korea reject the UN Security Council resolution, it also heaped blame on the United States.
"The DPRK, as it did in the past, vehemently denounces and totally rejects the 'resolution on sanctions' against the DPRK, a product of the US hostile policy toward it," the North's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
On Friday, the Security Council imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang by tightening financial restrictions and cracking down on attempts to transport banned cargo.
The resolution, the fifth to be approved since 2006, is the latest international attempt to stop the North's nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The move comes after North Korea's third nuclear test on February 12, which sparked regional security tensions and posturing. The test involved setting off a device more powerful than the one used in its previous test in 2009.
In recent days, North Korea has gone so far as to threaten to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea.
The North accused the United States of using military drills in the South as a launching pad for a nuclear war. Pyongyang also said it would scrap the armistice with Washington that ended hostilities in the 1950-53 Korean War.
The United States responded by warning Pyongyang that its threats would only result in further international isolation.
"The United States of America and our allies are prepared to deal with any threat and any reality that occurs in the world," US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said ahead of a visit to Afghanistan on Friday.
"We are aware of what's going on. We have partnerships in that part of the world that are important."
Both North and South Korea are expected to carry out large-scale military exercises next week, giving rise to fears over a possible violent border incident.
Some believe that North Korea can already fit a warhead on a rocket, but most analysts sill assume that North Korea is still years away from a true, inter-continental ballistic missile.
tm/pfd (AFP, Reuters)