The White House says the U.S. is fully capable of defending itself after a North Korean ballistic missile attack.
White House spokesman Jay Carney was responding to the North's vow to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S. That threat came in retaliation for tough new U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test.
Carney says the sanctions further isolate North Korea and show its leaders what will happen if they defy the international community. He says the breadth and severity of the sanctions show the world takes seriously the threat of North Korea's nuclear program.
North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs but isn't thought to have the ability to produce a warhead that could be used on a missile capable of reaching the U.S.