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Threat of nuclear attack against U.S. latest in North Korea's war of words

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This view of North Korea is seen from South Korea at the Demilitarized Zone. (Source: Jon Flawed/Creative Commons) This view of North Korea is seen from South Korea at the Demilitarized Zone. (Source: Jon Flawed/Creative Commons)
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(RNN) – North Korea's latest radioactive threats are more of the same from a country that in recent years even managed to find itself on opposite sides of its closest ally.

In the latest barrage of war talk, North Korea has threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S. in retaliation for the fourth round of sanctions being proposed at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.

There has been a great deal of saber-rattling from the North in recent months, including the Feb. 12 nuclear test that precipitated the proposed sanctions.

The latest nuclear test followed a long-range rocket launch in December, according to the Associated Press.

In addition, a video surfaced last month on the official North Korea YouTube channel that showed a presumed nuclear attack on an American city as a piano cover of Michael Jackson's We are the World played in the background.

North Korea's closest ally, China, is one of the nations leading the effort to increase sanctions, and worked with the United States on the resolution's proposed text. Because of its proximity, China would also be the nation monitoring the sanctions, according to the AP.

The proposed text of the sanctions resolution is designed to squelch the regime's nuclear efforts by curtailing the flow of covert cash to North Korean banks.

Sanctions will also increase scrutiny of sea shipments and air cargo.

North Korea, reportedly angry about military exercises between South Korea and the U.S., also threatened to annul the 1953 Korean War cease-fire in the past week.

The U.S. and South Korea started two months of joint military exercises, known as Foal Eagle, this week. While North Korea calls the drills provocative, South Korea describes the exercises as defensive.

On Thursday, the South Korean defense ministry reported North Korea was conducting "unusually grand-scaled" drills throughout its territory.

According to CNN, South Korea warned it would retaliate "strongly and sternly" against the North if the lives and safety of South Koreans came under threat.

The flamboyant ex-basketball star Dennis Rodman's recent visit to the communist country has done little to build bridges between the two nations.

According to Rodman, who visited last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn't want war with the U.S., just a call from President Barack Obama to chat about basketball, a sport they both love, according to an Associated Press story.

State Department Secretary John Kerry said Tuesday that Rodman "was a great basketball player, and as a diplomat, he was a great basketball player."

"That's where we'll leave it," he told NBC News.

Kim came to power in December 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, who built up North Korea's military strength during his 17 years in power.

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