North Koreans attend a rally to support a statement given on Tuesday by a spokesman for the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army vowing to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War as well as boasting of the North's ownership of "lighter and smaller nukes" and its ability to execute "surgical strikes" meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Credit: AP
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea is vowing a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States. The harsh rhetoric Thursday comes hours ahead of a vote by U.N. diplomats on whether to level new sanctions against Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test.
An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the headquarters of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.
Such inflammatory rhetoric is common from North Korea. But it has been coming regularly in recent days. North Korea is angry over the possible sanctions and over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills.
Fox News has more on what's prompted the rhetoric:
North Korea is angry over the possible sanctions and over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills. At a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday, tens of thousands of North Koreans protested the U.S.-South Korean war drills and sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council is set to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang in a fresh attempt to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current council president, said the council will vote on the draft sanctions resolution Thursday morning.
The resolution was drafted by the United States and China, North Korea's closest ally. The council's agreement to put the resolution to a vote just 48 hours later signaled that it would almost certainly have the support of all 15 council members.
Still, as CBS News explained Thursday morning, it's unclear if North Korea even has the capability to launch such a strike: