North Korea amplified its threatening rhetoric as the U.N. Security Council approved new sweeping sanctions, vowing to launch a first-strike nuclear attack against the United States and threatening to engulf Washington in a "sea of fire."
An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.
At a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday, Army Gen. Kang Pyo Yong told the crowd that North Korea is ready to fire long-range nuclear-armed missiles at Washington.
"Intercontinental ballistic missiles and various other missiles, which have already set their striking targets, are now armed with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads and are placed on a standby status," Kang said. "When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, .... will be engulfed in a sea of fire."
Top U.S. envoy for North Korea policy Glyn Davies called on Pyongyang not to miscalculate and said the U.S. is working with South Korea to ensure it's ready should any threats arise.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, said the "absurd" threat of a nuclear strike on the U.S. would be tantamount to suicide.
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