UNITED NATIONS – North Korea's foreign minister condemned the United States on Friday for flying supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week and vowed his country will strengthen its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.
In a defiant speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Ri Yong Ho said the Korean Peninsula "has now been turned into the world's most dangerous hot spot which can even ignite the outbreak of a nuclear war." He blamed the United States and "its hostile policy" against North Korea.
Ri claimed that B-1B bombers that the U.S. military flew over South Korea earlier this week crossed the demarcation line separating the two Koreas. The U.S. military has said at least one of two supersonic bombers that it flew over South Korea approached the border with the North Korea, an unusual occurrence in the world's most heavily fortified border.
The U.S. flyover was the second in as many weeks and came two weeks after North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test.
Ri said "the United States will have to face tremendous consequences beyond imagination."
He said the North "will continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality in order to defend the dignity and right to existence and safeguard genuine peace vis-a-vis the increased nuclear war threat of the United States."
Speaking at a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that every country has a responsibility to vigorously enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions to ensure North Korea "pays a price for its dangerous actions."
Kerry said the aim was to make it clear to them "they need to come to the negotiating table and they need to behave like every other law-abiding nation" and work for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Kerry also vowed that the United States would defend its own citizens against the North Korean threat and honor its security commitments to its allies.
Military experts are worried that North Korea is moving closer toward obtaining the ability to put nuclear warheads on a variety of its ballistic missiles, a growing arsenal that one day may include a reliable weapon that could reach the U.S. mainland.
Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from the United Nations.