North Korea threatens pre-emptive US strike


North Korea threatened the United States yesterday with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, raising the level of rhetoric just before the UN Security Council approved new sanctions against the reclusive country.

The White House said North Korea’s threats would only lead to Pyongyang’s further international isolation and that the US was “fully capable” of defending against any North Korean missile attack.

China’s UN ambassador Li Baodong said Beijing wanted to see “full implementation” of the new UN Security Council resolution that tightens financial restrictions on Pyongyang and cracks down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo.

North Korea has accused the US of using military drills in South Korea as a launch pad for a nuclear war and has scrapped the armistice with Washington that ended hostilities in the 1950-53 Korean War.

A North Korean general said on Tuesday Pyongyang was scrapping the armistice. But the two sides remain technically at war as the civil war did not end with a treaty.

“Since the US 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.

North Korea conducted a third nuclear test on February 12th, in defiance of UN resolutions, and declared it had achieved progress in securing a functioning atomic arsenal. It is widely believed that the North does not have the capacity for a nuclear strike against the US.

With tensions high on the Korean peninsula, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to expand its sanctions on North Korea.

The resolution specifies some luxury items North Korea’s elite is not allowed to import, such as yachts, racing cars, luxury automobiles and certain types of jewellery. This is intended to close a loophole that had allowed countries to decide for themselves what constituted a luxury good.

– (Reuters)