North Korea signalled Tuesday it would pull out of nuclear disarmament talks and restart a plant that makes bomb-grade plutonium following a rebuke from the UN Security Council over its recent launch of a long-range rocket.

Officials with the International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korea is expelling its inspectors and reactivating all nuclear facilities, including the plutonium plant at Yongbyon.

Pyongyang had warned earlier that any move to censure it at the UN could prompt its withdrawal from stalled six-party negotiations on dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the White House called on North Korea to "cease its provocative threats" and respect the will of the international community by honouring its international commitments.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at the daily news briefing that the international community won't accept North Korea unless it abandons what the White House calls its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

On Monday, all 15 Security Council members unanimously endorsed a statement calling for expanded sanctions because the April 5 rocket launch violates a 2006 resolution barring the regime from ballistic missile activity.

A statement is considered a weaker response than a council resolution.

Western countries fear that the launch is a cover for a ballistic missile test for the North, which has nuclear weapons.

But North Korea has claimed the launch was to send an experimental communications satellite into orbit as part of a peaceful bid to develop its space program.

With files from the Associated Press