The US urged North Korea today to stop its nuclear saber-rattling and negotiate with the world's great powers, vowing that Washington would never accept Pyongyang as an atomic weapons state.
Russia, China and other leading world nations lined up behind the United States in a rare demonstration of unity reflecting international concern over the North's rogue nuclear program and its steadily bellicose rhetoric.
As senior delegates of the US and other countries discussed the situation with the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pyongyang upped the ante, warning of a "thousand-fold" military retaliation against Washington and its allies if provoked.
Pyongyang claims its nuclear bombs are a deterrence against the United States and accuses Washington of plotting with South Korea to topple its secretive regime.
"If the US and its followers infringe upon our republic's sovereignty even a bit, our military and people will launch a 100-or 1,000-fold retaliation with merciless military strike," the North's state-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary.
Attention has been focused on North Korea since it conducted a second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of the United Nations. The UN Security Council responded by toughening an arms embargo, authorising ship searches for nuclear and ballistic missile cargo and depriving the regime of the financing used to build its nuclear program.