World

North Korea threatens Japan, US after latest sanctions

SEOUL/JAPAN: A North Korean state agency threatened yesterday to use nuclear weapons to "sink" Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for supporting a United Nations Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.

Pyongyang's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles North Korea's external ties and propaganda, also called for the break-up of the Security Council, which it called "a tool of evil" made up of "money-bribed" countries that move at the order of the US.

"The four islands of the archipelago should be sunk into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us," the committee said in a statement carried by North Korea's official KCNA news agency.

Juche is the country's ruling ideology that mixes Marxism and an extreme form of go-it-alone nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung.

Tensions have risen markedly since North Korea conducted its sixth - and by far most powerful - nuclear test on Sept 3.

The 15-member Security Council voted unanimously on a US-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions last Monday in response, banning North Korea's textile exports, which are the second largest only to coal and mineral, and capping fuel supplies.

North Korea reacted by reiterating threats to destroy the US, Japan and South Korea.

"Let us reduce the US mainland into ashes and darkness. Let us vent our spite with mobilisation of all retaliation means that have been prepared till now," the statement said.

AGGRESSION

The threats also singled out Japan for "dancing to the tune" of the US, saying it should never be pardoned for not offering a sincere apology for its "never-to-be-condoned crimes against our people", an apparent reference to Japan's wartime aggression.

North Korea also referred to South Korea as "traitors and dogs" of the US.

Japan criticised North Korea's statement harshly.

"This announcement is extremely provocative and egregious. It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said yesterday.

North Korea has already categorically rejected the sanctions over its latest test, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of international pressure.

The latest sanctions also make it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.- REUTERS

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