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KCNA (North Korea), AP, REUTERS, CNN

Worldcrunch

PYONGYANG- With the UN set to vote on imposing sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test, Pyongyang issued perhaps it's most virulent threat to date, saying it would exercise the right to pre-emptive strikes against Washington.

“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” read a statement from a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, which was carried on the official KCNA news agency, according to Reuters.

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High Contrast

Experts say Pyongyang does not have the capacity to carry out a nuclear strike against the U.S. However, it is believed to have enough nuclear fuel for several crude nuclear devices. Still the specificity of the latest threat raises the stakes in a showdown that reignite open conflict on the Korean peninsula, and beyond.

The United Nations Security Council is meeting today to consider its response to the third nuclear test carried out by North Korea on February 12, reports the AP. The proposed resolution would make it significantly harder for North Korea to transfer funds, strengthen existing sanctions and inspections of goods exported by and imported to the country.

China -- North Korea's key ally -- reportedly reached a deal with the U.S. on the wording of the draft resolution, which means the sanctions are likely to get the required unanimous approval at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.

North Korea sees U.N. sanctions as part of an aggressive, U.S.-led conspiracy against it writes CNN.

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UN Security Council Assembly via Lowlova

In anticipation of this resolution, earlier in the week the North threatened to scrap the armistice that stopped the Korean War in 1953 and carry out strikes against the United States and South Korea, which are in the midst of military drills in the region says CNN.

The AP reports that a spokesperson for Australia’s Foreign Minister said on Thursday that the proposal for a North Korean embassy in Canberra would be on hold as the UN Security Council makes a decision.

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