People watch a television news report, showing file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a railway station in Seoul on September 9, 2016. ©AFP
North Korea has stated its demand for being recognized as a "legitimate" nuclear-weapon country in the wake of Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.
A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman in Pyongyang was quoted by the official KCNA news agency on Sunday as mocking US President Barack Obama's "totally bankrupt" policy toward North Korea.
"Obama is trying hard to deny the DPRK (North Korea)'s strategic position as a legitimate nuclear-weapon state, but it is as foolish an act as trying to eclipse the sun with a palm."
The unnamed spokesman said a push for imposing more sanctions following North Korea’s fifth and biggest nuclear test was “laughable,” adding, “The group of Obama's running around and talking about meaningless sanctions until today is highly laughable, when their 'strategic patience' policy is completely worn out and they are close to packing up to move out.”
The KCNA said North Koreans were delighted by Friday's test, which came only eight months after the previous one and was almost twice as powerful, at an estimated 10 kilotons. North Korea has vowed to increase its nuclear strike force "in quality and in quantity."
US, allies vow punitive measures
Sung Kim, the US State Department's special representative for North Korea policy, said during his visit to Japan that Washington and Tokyo would work closely in the United Nations Security Council and beyond "to come up with the strongest possible measure against North Korea's latest action."
Meanwhile, referring to Friday's phone conversation between President Park Geun-hye and Obama, South Korea’s Senior Presidential Secretary for Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-Hyun said the United States had vowed to defend Seoul using "all means available," including the nuclear umbrella and conventional forces.
Russia, China urge restraint
Russia, however, has urged the international community to find more “creative” ways to respond to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions than merely imposing sanctions on the country.
“The current situation shows that diplomats should be more creative than just responding by sanctions, sanctions and sanctions again on any aggravation of the situation,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday.
This file photo taken on April 24, 2016 shows a picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) showing an underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. ©AFP 
China, for its part, has said that all parties in the international community should exercise restraint following the test as it is in nobody's interest for there to be chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula.
In a commentary on Friday, China's state-run news agency Xinhua said North Korea's nuclear test is "not wise," but South Korea's decision to deploy an advanced US anti-missile system has also seriously damaged regional strategic balance.
In January, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, and vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
North Korea says it will not give up on its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.