(AP) North Korea is warning that it will strengthen its military and nuclear defenses in reaction to what it calls U.S. hostility toward Pyongyang.
The Foreign Ministry issued a defiant statement early Wednesday just hours after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning a North Korean rocket launch as a violation of a ban against nuclear and missile activity. The council also voted unanimously to tighten existing sanctions.
The council reiterated its previous demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and cease launches. China joined in approving the resolution, the first in four years to expand the sanctions regime on North Korea.
Pyongyang claims that its Dec. 12 launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space and vowed Wednesday to keep launching rockets and satellites.
However, Washington and its allies consider the long-range rocket launch a covert test of missile technology, and suspect Pyongyang is seeking to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of striking the U.S.
It is believed that China may have been willing to join the new Security Council resolution because satellite surveillance has shown activity at North Korea's nuclear blast test sites suggesting another atomic test may be imminent.
North Korea vowed last week to strengthen its defenses but was not specific. North Korea has claimed the right to build atomic weapons to protect itself from the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea.