"The group of Obama's running around and talking about meaningless sanctions until today is highly laughable," state-run KCNA news agency cited a foreign ministry spokesman as saying in a statement.

The United States may launch unilateral sanctions against North Korea, a U.S. special envoy for the isolated state said earlier on Sunday, two days after it carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

North Korea had announced on Friday that it had conducted its fifth nuclear test, hours after seismic monitors detected a blast near the secretive country's nuclear test site.

Following the announcement, the UN Security Council strongly condemned the test and agreed to begin drafting a new resolution under article 41 of the UN charter which provides for sanctions.

South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia, and China all condemned the blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, the North's most powerful yet at 10 kilotons.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006. After Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test, the council in March adopted the toughest sanctions resolution to date targeting North Korea's trade in minerals and tightening banking restrictions.

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