North Korea warned the world yesterday against following the US in trying to enforce new UN sanctions, calling the measures a "declaration of war" and stressing it was ready for battle.
In one of the North's harshest statements in years, Pyongyang rejected the sanctions imposed after it tested a nuclear bomb last week and lashed out at both the US and the UN Security Council.
The announcement, dismissed by South Korean and US officials in Seoul as nothing new, came on the same day as Japanese and US media reports that the reclusive communist state may be planning a second test.
It underlined North Korea's unwillingness to bow to pressure, which had been mounting for months before the council's vote on Saturday to punish it for testing a nuclear weapon.
"The DPRK [North Korea] wants peace but is not afraid of war," a foreign ministry spokesman said in the statement.
"We will deliver merciless blows without hesitation to whoever tries to breach our sovereignty and right to survive under the excuse of carrying out the UN Security Council [UNSC] resolution," he said.
North Korea has repeatedly said the threat of attack from the US is the reason for its nuclear arsenal.
Yesterday's statement said Washington had "instigated" the resolution, which was approved and co-sponsored by all 15 council countries, and that the council had overlooked US "hostility" to the North.
"This is an immoral behavior utterly devoid of impartiality," said the unnamed spokesman, quoted by the North's official news agency.
The statement warned the US it "would be well advised not to miscalculate."
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