N. Korea threatens preemptive nuclear strike

North Korea warned it would make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercise that began Monday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

“As the joint military exercises to be staged by the enemies are regarded as the most undisguised nuclear war drill aimed to infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its military counteraction will be more preemptive and offensive nuclear strike to cope with them,” the statement from the Defense Commission of North Korea read.

North Korea has issued similar threats around the time of annual military exercises. However, tensions have been even higher than normal after recent actions by the United Nations.

Last week, the Security Council voted to impose an array of sanctions against North Korea because of the nation’s recent nuclear test and missile launch – both of which violated international sanctions. The resolution added sanctions that aim to cripple the economic factors that fuel the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.

The North Korean news agency called the sanctions “unprecedented and gangster-like.”

Discussions of new sanctions began after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb in January. Then, in February, Pyongyang said it had successfully launched and Earth satellite in orbit.