North Korea says sanctions ordered by the United Nations after its nuclear weapons test are the same as a declaration of war.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry says the North will take what it calls "merciless" action against any country that infringes on its sovereignty. It says North Korea "wants peace, but is not afraid of war."
It also lashed out at the United States, saying the sanctions are based on what it calls a U.S. attempt to "destroy the socialist system." North Korea said it would continue to monitor U.S. actions and take appropriate measures - but did not specify what those measures would be.<!-- IMAGE -->
Senior American diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, arrived in South Korea Tuesday, for talks on how U.S. allies in the region should respond to the North's nuclear test last week.
U.S. officials confirmed Monday that the underground blast was a genuine nuclear explosion with a force of less than one kiloton.
The United States is urging all nations to enforce the U.N.'s order for punitive sanctions on North Korea.
China said Tuesday it would abide by the U.N. sanctions. The Foreign Ministry said the Chinese side has always implemented Security Council resolutions seriously, and in a responsible manner. China is one of North Korea's only allies.
Meanwhile, U.S. television networks say American spy satellites have detected vehicle movements in North Korea that may signal preparations for another test.
Japanese and South Korean officials say they are aware of those reports, but they added no further details.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves the United States today on a visit to North Korea's neighbors to talk about the sanctions and how to convince the reclusive country to return to nuclear disarmament talks.
Rice is expected to meet with Japanese, South Korean and Chinese officials to discuss coordinating inspections of cargo going into and out of North Korea.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.