North Korea said Monday it will launch “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States, after the United Nations imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programs.
The statement came after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new U.S.-drafted sanctions Saturday, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion.
"We are ready to retaliate with far bigger actions to make the U.S. pay a price for its crime against our country and people," the reclusive nation warned, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
It said it would take a "stern action of justice."
North Korea regularly uses flamboyant language to make threats against the U.S. and the West.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that the North could show it is ready for dialogue by stopping the missile tests.
“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
Tillerson made the comments as he attended the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila.
“We’re not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks," Tillerson said when asked about a time frame.
"This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us.”
In a phone call Sunday, President Trump and Moon Jae-in, his South Korean counterpart, "affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world," according to a White House statement.
"The leaders committed to fully implement all relevant resolutions and to urge the international community to do so as well," the statement added.
"Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea," Trump tweeted Sunday. "Very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions."
Tillerson and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho both attended the ASEAN summit on Sunday, but avoided any direct contact. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly admonished North Korea to abide by the new sanctions.
“Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Wang said he told Ri.
Ri did not respond publicly. North Korea's Rodong Sinmun news website published a commentary dismissing the sanctions as "cooked up by the U.S.," adding that "the U.S. mainland is on the crossroads of life and death."
The sanctions ban North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood; and also prohibit countries from increasing existing numbers of North Korean workers employed outside the country. The sanctions also ban new joint ventures with North Korea and new investment in existing joint ventures.
Chinese state media said North Korea had to be punished for its missile tests, but criticized the U.S. for its "arrogance" Monday. China is North Korea's most important ally.
In a front-page commentary in its overseas edition, the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper wrote: "Sanctions to the greatest possible extent must avoid causing negative impacts to ordinary people and to third countries, and avoid bringing disaster to the country in question's normal and legal trade and business exchanges with the outside world, people's normal lives and the humanitarian situation."
The Global Times, a separate newspaper published by the People's Daily, said the United States must rein in its "moral arrogance over North Korea."
"The West should be reminded to exercise restraint. If it believes it is only North Korea rather than the U.S. and South Korea as well to blame for the nuclear issue, this ill-fitting mindset will not help solve the crisis," the editorial said.
North Korea has launched more than a dozen test missiles this year. Concerns were heightened last month when Pyongyang test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles analysts said were capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Contributing: John Bacon and Thomas Maresca
© 2018 Associated Press