- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2013

North Korea on Friday scrapped all nonaggression pacts with South Korea and cut off a hotline with Seoul after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions on Pyongyang to punish it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test.

North Korea “abrogates all agreements on nonaggression reached between the North and the South,” the state-run Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement.

“It notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline,” said the statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Friday’s statement was the second belligerent response to the sanctions vote in two days, as Pyongyang threatened Thursday a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States. The White House dismissed North Korea’s bluster and urged it not to miscalculate.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday voted 15-0 on the sanctions resolution drafted by the U.S. and China, North Korea’s key ally.

The resolution, designed to send a powerful message to North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, targets financial activities of North Korean banks; imposes travel sanctions on blacklisted North Koreans; and bans the transfer to and from North Korea of ballistic missile, nuclear and chemical weapons technology.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Li Baodong, said adoption of the resolution — the fourth such effort to curb North Korea’s nuclear program — was not enough.

“We want to see full implementation of the resolution,” Mr. Li said in comments reported by The Associated Press.

“The top priority now is to defuse the tensions, bring down heat bring the situation back on the track of diplomacy, on negotiations,” he added, while calling for a resumption of stalled six-nation talks aimed at removing nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.N. action will further isolate the dictatorial regime and “bite hard.”

Hours before the U.N. vote, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman in the capital of Pyongyang threatened a nuclear strike on the United States.

The leadership in Pyongyang will exercise its right to “a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors” because Washington is “set to light a fuse for a nuclear war,” Korean Central News Agency quoted an unidentified spokesman as saying.

New U.N. sanctions also will prompt North Korea to act sooner on a threat, made following the nuclear test, to use “powerful second and third countermeasures,” he added. Pyongyang has not disclosed what those measures are.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. is “fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack.”

The top U.S. envoy on North Korea, Glyn Davies, said the U.S. will take necessary steps to defend itself and its allies, including South Korea.

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