For the first time, the rogue state has admitted to having a uranium-enrichment program. It also threatened to respond militarily to any attempts to stop any of its ships suspected of carrying nuclear components.
But the two women sentenced to 12 years in prison still face awful conditions. Their whereabouts since last week remain unknown.
A tougher stance toward Pyongyang may complicate efforts to negotiate the release of the two women, who were sentenced Monday to 12 years of hard labor.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, nabbed along the Chinese-North Korean border, have become players in a much larger drama.
Senior official Choe Sung-chol was reportedly put to death for accepting bribes.
A documentary critical of the North, filmed by a family member of one of the journalists, could complicate their case.
Did the two women cross into North Korea, or did border guards lure them over?
A US diplomat returns from talks in Pyongyang Monday with 18,000 pages supplied by North Korea on its nuclear facilities.