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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

N. Korea Threatens Backlash

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea threatened Japan on Thursday with "strong countermeasures" if it went ahead with tougher sanctions over Pyongyang's reported nuclear test.

Japan and the United States are pushing for tough measures against the North, although diplomats say China opposes the more punitive parts of a draft resolution Washington wants the United Nations Security Council to adopt in a vote, possibly Friday.

"We will take strong countermeasures," said Song Il ho, North Korean ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan, reported Japan's Kyodo news agency from Pyongyang.

"The specific contents will become clear if you keep watching," Song said. "We never speak empty words."

Japan, arguing that Pyongyang's nuclear weapons pose a direct threat to its safety, is expected to formally approve additional sanctions Friday, including banning imports from the impoverished communist state and blocking North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports.

U.S. President George W. Bush said Wednesday: "In response to North Korea's actions we're working with our partners ... to ensure there are serious repercussions for the regime in Pyongyang."

North Korea has brandished the threat of more tests, calling U.S. pressure to rein in its nuclear program tantamount to a "declaration of war."