North Korea continued to give the international community the middle finger Friday, firing yet another short-range missile off its east coast, days after detonating a nuclear device underground.
Despite unanimous condemnation from the rest of the world, the increasingly isolated and aggressive nation backed up the latest test with a warning that it will take more "self-defense measures" if the U.N. Security Council punished it for this week's nuclear test.
At the United Nations, the U.S. and Japan circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to key members, condemning Pyongyang's nuclear test and demanding strict enforcement of sanctions after the North's first atomic test in October 2006.
North Korea, in its first response to threatened sanctions, said it would take "self-defense measures" if it was punished, but did not spell out what it might do other than to nullify the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It has previously said that truce was already dead.
Friday's missile launch was North Korea's fifth since the nuclear test. Most of the missiles are believed to have a range of around 80 miles.
In Washington, the U.S. Army's top officer, Gen. George Casey, said the U.S. could take on North Korea's million-man army if need be. He said the U.S. Army could be ready for a conventional war in 90 days.
"We'd move forces as rapidly as we could get them prepared," he said.
North Korea's increasingly angry provocations unnerve other countries, but many analysts said a major aim is domestic -- strengthening leader Kim Jong-il's steely grip on power, according to Reuters. The erratic, 67-year-old leader suffered a stroke last year and could be flexing his muscles to help prepare for a successor -- possibly one of his sons.