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North Korea vows more nuclear testing, threatens US as 'sworn enemy'

Two days into President Obama’s second term and with a transition of power on tap at the State Department, the North Korean military is using its most
David Guttenfelder/AP/dapd
David Guttenfelder/AP/dapd

Two days into President Obama’s second term and with a transition of power on tap at the State Department, the North Korean military is using its most aggressive rhetoric toward the United States since Kim Jong-un took power--including a pledge to build up its arsenal and further nuclear testing.

In a lengthy statement, released on Thursday by its National Defense Commission through state-run media, North Korea wagged a finger in the face of the U.N. Security Council, and repeatedly challenged the U.S. role in pushing sanctions aimed at neutralizing the goading nuclear state. The defiant moves comes after the Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution that tightened sanctions against the country and condemned the Dec. 12 North Korea rocket launch as a violation of an existing resolution. China, one of North Korea’s few international allies, joined the U.S. and other countries in support.

“The U.S. is taking the lead in encroaching upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its allies are siding with it and the U.N. Security Council has been reduced into an organization bereft of impartiality and balance,” the defense commission's statement reads.

The most hostile language is aimed directly at the United States.

“We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people,” the statement reads. “Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.”

The statement goes on to challenge a “more dangerous phase” in the U.S. policy toward North Korea and insists that only the “denuclearization” of the United States and rest of the world will stop the country from pursuing its own nuclear ambitions.

Glyn Davies, special envoy on North Korea, reacted to the statement—and the possibility of further North Korean nuclear testing—during a visit in South Korea.

“We think that would be a mistake obviously,” Davies told reporters. “We call on North Korea as does the entire international community not to engage in any further provocations.”

Davies put the onus on North Korea to comply with the Security Council.

“This unanimous action by the Security Council makes clear that the international community is sending as strong signal to North Korea,” he said.

Asked about the North Korean statement today, White House press secretary Jay Carney called the language “needlessly provocative” and warned that any such testing would only increase the nation’s isolation.

The provocation comes as Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., testifies before his colleagues as nominee to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.