North Korea threatened Thursday to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States. The inflammatory rhetoric came hours ahead of the crucial United Nations vote on imposing new sanctions against Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test.  

Accusing the U.S. of starting a nuclear war against the North, an unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said it has every right for pre-emptive nuclear strike against its enemies.

"Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest," the North's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, Reuters reported.

North Korea is furious over the U.N. move to level more sanctions against it and the upcoming U.S.-South Korea joint military drills in the region.

Such harsh rhetoric has been regular in recent weeks from the North Korean regime. In more than one occasion in last month, North Korea had threatened to attack the U.S. and the South Korea. Tensions had escalated in the region after the North Korea’s December 2012 rocket launch and its third nuclear test conduct Feb. 12, this year, which led to extending of sanctions by the U.S. and the U.N.

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on a resolution on leveling more sanctions against the North Korea, Thursday.

Unlike the previous U.N. resolutions against the Pyongyang, the current move to punish North Korea has the backing of China, a long-term ally of the reclusive state. If passed and enforced by the member countries including China, the new sanctions could choke North Korea, as it would restrict operations of most of the companies and banks that are believed to work with Pyongyang, the Associated Press reported.

Fuming over the move, North Korea had threatened to cancel the 1953 ceasefire with South Korea.

Last week, a Pyongyang official had warned South Korea of dire consequences for opposing its military and nuclear program.

“As the saying goes, a new-born puppy knows no fear of a tiger. South Korea’s erratic behavior would only herald its final destruction,” Jon Yong Ryong, North Korean diplomat, during a debate on the UN Conference on Disarmament told the meeting, the Independent reported.