US vows to defend itself against N. Korea threats

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. says it will take necessary steps to defend itself and its allies after North Korea threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

The top envoy for North Korea policy, Glyn Davies, called on the North not to miscalculate. Referring to threats from Pyongyang in "recent hours and days," he said the U.S. was working with South Korea to ensure it's ready for any threats that arise.

He was testifying to a Senate foreign relations panel Thursday, shortly after the U.N. Security Council approved tighter sanctions against Pyongyang for its latest nuclear test. North Korea issued its threat before the vote.

Democrat panel chairman Robert Menendez said the North's "absurd" threat of a nuclear strike on the U.S. would be tantamount to suicide.