North Korea says it will use its nuclear weapons both to defend itself
and as an offense against those who seek to attack the country.
An editorial published Tuesday in North Korea's state-run Minju Joson newspaper says its nuclear arsenal will be a strong deterrent against any enemies, and will also be used to carry out what it called a "merciless offensive" against those who violate the country's dignity and sovereignty.
The latest threats from the reclusive communist nation came as the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - met with Japanese and South Korean officials to negotiate a new resolution in response to Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said after Tuesday's meeting that the parties are making progress in their negotiations and a new resolution is expected "relatively soon." She declined to say when negotiations will conclude or what proposals are under consideration.
Measures under discussion reportedly include new restrictions on North Korea's trade and financial dealings with the outside world, as well as an expanded arms embargo and tighter inspections of its ship-based cargo.
U.S. officials have indicated that Washington may also impose unilateral financial sanctions against North Korea.
Late Monday, a top U.S. intelligence official said North Korea's recent nuclear test and missile launches, and its political situation are "a potentially dangerous mixture."
Last week, media reports said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had named his youngest son, 26-year-old Kim Jong Un, as his successor. Kim Jong Il has ruled the country since taking over from his father, Kim Il Sung, in 1994.
In a separate development, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a Russian foreign ministry official as saying there are indications that North Korea is preparing to launch another missile, following a series of recent missile launches.