On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved condemning North Korea's December 12 missile launch and placing new sanctions on the country and its space agency. In response, the regime in Pyongyang announced its third missile test since Kim Jung Il died in December 2011 and was succeeded by his son, Kim Jung Un.
While allegedly intended to send weather satellites into space, the regime finally acknowledged the missile launches were aimed at the United States. From the statement by North Korea's national defense commission, according to North Korea Leadership Watch:
We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.
Meanwhile, the North Korean foreign ministry gave the view of the U.N. from Pyongyang:
The essence of the matter is the U.S. brigandish logic that a satellite launch for peaceful purposes by a country which the U.S. antagonizes should not be allowed because any carrier rocket launched by it can be converted into long-range ballistic missile threatening the U.S. The UNSC is a marionette of the U.S.
The UNSC "resolutions" adopted under the pretext of the DPRK's satellite launches are products of its blind pursuance of the hostile policy of the U.S. seeking disarmament of the DPRK and collapse of its system in violation of the universally accepted international laws.
No UN resolution could pass, of course, without the support of China, which wields veto power on the Security Council. North Korea's only ally, the Chinese government urged restraint:
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that all parties involved should work to find a solution agreeable to all, and to react to the announcement with caution or risk threatening stability.
"The DPRK's satellite launch, as well as the possible nuclear test, highlight the urgency and importance of settling relevant issues on the Korean peninsula," Hong said in a press conference…
"We hope all parties will bear in mind the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, exercise calmness and restraint and avoid actions that might escalate tension," Hong added.
The White House for its part called North Korea's threats "needlessly provocative," with a missile launch sure to bring more diplomatic isolation. The U.S. suspended food aid in April after the younger Kim's first, failed, missile launch, and North Korea has increasingly relied on China for economic support. After the United States announced it'd be increasing the range of South Korea's ballistic missiles, the North responded by claiming its warheads could already reach the American mainland. Experts in the West say the missiles may be able to reach Guam already.