N.Korea Threatens Fresh Nuclear Test

North Korea on Thursday seized its brief moment in the international spotlight with threats to conduct a fresh nuclear test and target its "sworn enemy," the U.S.

"We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets we will launch, as well as the high-level nuclear test we will carry out, are targeted at the United States, the sworn enemy of our people," the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement on Thursday. "Accounts with the U.S. need to be settled with force, not with words."

The statement carried by the official KCNA news agency came in response to Wednesday's UN Security Council resolution that condemns last month's rocket launch and intensifies sanctions against the renegade country.

The commission said the North is "fully prepared" to "thwart the confrontational plot" by the U.S. and its followers and "defend sovereignty."

There has been speculation that the North would carry out a third nuclear test since it launched the space rocket on Dec. 12.

The North conducted a first nuclear test in September 2006, six days after a similar threat, and a second in May 2009, 26 days after a warning.

Experts noted that the irate rhetoric tangled the regime up in contradictions, since it claimed on the one hand that the rocket launch served peaceful purposes but on the other targeted the U.S.

They believe the North is seizing its brief moment in the international spotlight to attract U.S. attention. There has bee no noticeable change in the U.S.' North Korea policy since the rocket launch in December, and the White House's focus is mostly elsewhere.

Over the past 20-odd years, the regime has repeated a pattern where a provocation is followed by dialogue and compensation from the international community, followed by a fresh provocation, and so forth.

But over the past four years the North's provocations have signally failed to yield any fruit due to close cooperation between Seoul and Washington.

The Obama administration has mostly ignored the North without pushing very hard for dialogue even after the second nuclear test in May 2009.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 25, 2013 09:28 KST