North Korea is warning the US it will pay a "due price" for spearheading efforts for fresh sanctions on the regime following its latest nuclear test, which diplomats say the UN Security Council will soon put to a vote.
However, a US-drafted resolution originally calling for an oil embargo on the North, a halt to its key exports of textiles and subjecting leader Kim Jong Un to a financial and travel ban appears to have been watered down to appease Russia and China, which have veto powers, diplomats say.
It no longer proposes blacklisting Kim and reduces sanctions on oil and gas, a draft reviewed by Reuters shows but still proposes a ban on textile exports.
The US has called for a vote on Monday on new UN sanctions.
North Korea was condemned for conducting its sixth nuclear test on September 3, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb.
The tensions have weighed on global markets but there was some relief on Monday that North Korea did not conduct a further missile test when it celebrated its founding anniversary at the weekend.
Still, North Korea denounced efforts by Washington to impose new UN-backed sanctions against the country.
The North's foreign ministry spokesman said the US was "going frantic" to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang's nuclear test, which it said was part of "legitimate self-defensive measures".
"In case the US eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful 'resolution' on harsher sanctions, the DPRK (North Korea) shall make absolutely sure that the US pays due price," the spokesman told the official KCNA news agency.
China might be most critical though in deciding if oil sanctions go ahead because it controls an oil pipeline that provides about 520,000 tonnes of crude a year to the North.