Hours before the U.N. Security Council voted to pass a resolution adding a new level of sanctions against Pyongyang for its most recent nuclear test, North Korea vowed to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S.
“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,” read a statement by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, as published by the official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea also announced that it would use “lighter and smaller nukes” on the United States, and is calling off the 1953 Korean War Armistice, which called a military truce, still in effect, between North and South Korea, which are still formally at war. The nation, with a developing nuclear arsenal, has already released propaganda videos that show Americans, including President Obama, burning in flames.
Last December, the North successfully launched a long-range rocket, ostensibly carrying a satellite, stirring up concern from the international community. Though the launch in itself was not technically indicative of developing nuclear weapons, many nations protested, claiming it was a thinly veiled ballistic missile test. Nearby nations Japan and South Korea, along with the U.S., were immediately concerned and proposed sanctions condemning the launch to the Security Council.
China, one of five permanent members to the Council and veto holder, only agreed to the resolution after it was diluted to relatively weak outcomes, even though it expressed concern over rising tensions.
Continue Reading Below
“The Chinese side always holds that [all sides concerned] should find an ultimate way to long-lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and consultation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press briefing. “The DPRK is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space, but that right is currently restrained by relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
However, China has now shifted to full-fledged support of stronger sanctions (possibly as strict as those on Iran) after the North conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12, defying U.N. resolutions.
The most recent nuclear test, which took place on the North Korean-Chinese border, has made China, a longtime ally and economic supporter of North Korea, rethink its position on sanctions.
Chinese ambassador to the U.N., Li Baodong, did not exercise the nation’s veto power, and told the press, “We want to see full implementation of the resolution. We want to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.”
The threat of additional sanctions has appeared to anger the pariah nation. "As we have already declared, we will take second and third countermeasures of greater intensity against the reckless hostilities of the United States and all their enemies.”