North Korea is threatening to hit the US with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, reports the AP, accusing Washington of attempting to provoke war and vowing that it will "destroy the strongholds of the aggressors." If the North actually possesses the technology to carry through on its threat, that's news to experts, but the latest rhetoric comes over tough new sanctions drafted by the United States and China that are headed for a UN Security Council vote this morning, reports Reuters. Those measures would require all UN countries to block financial services and monetary transfers that "could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear or ballistic missile programs."
The measure specifically mentions "bulk cash" transfers—ie, North Korean diplomats moving large amounts of currency in briefcases, a favorite regime maneuver. Inspections of all suspicious land, sea, or air cargo would become mandatory (they are currently voluntary). The sanctions would also freeze the assets of and ban travel for leading figures and entities related to North Korean arms and banking. Perhaps most unfortunately for Pyongyang's opulence-loving elite, the new rules ban luxury goods from being sold to North Korea—including yachts, luxury automobiles, and jewelry. (Read more North Korea stories.)