UNITED NATIONS -- The UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday for tough new sanctions to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test, and a furious Pyongyang threatened a nuclear strike against the United States.
The sanctions drafted by China -- North Korea's closest ally -- and the United States send a powerful message that the international community condemns Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear tests -- and repeated violations of Security Council resolutions.
"Adoption of the resolution itself is not enough," China's Ambassador Li Baodong said. "We want to see full implementation of the resolution." Li also urged calm and a resumption of the stalled six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
"The top priority now is to defuse the tensions, bring down heat . . . bring the situation back on the track of diplomacy, on negotiations," Li said.
North Korea said late Thursday it is canceling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with South Korea, and said it will retaliate with "crushing strikes" if enemies intrude into its territory.
The North's nuclear test last month was the first since the country's young new leader, Kim Jong Un, took charge amid questions whether he would steer the country on a different course. Immediately before the vote, an unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because Washington is "set to light a fuse for a nuclear war."
In Pyongyang, Army Gen. Kang Pyo Yong told a crowd of tens of thousands that the North is ready to fire long-range nuclear-armed missiles at Washington, which "will be engulfed in a sea of fire."
The White House responded, saying the United States is fully capable of defending itself against a ballistic missile attack from North Korea.