- North Korea Threatens Nuclear Destruction of Japan
North Korea has threatened to destroy Japan with nuclear weapons and “reduce the US mainland to ashes and darkness” in response to the countries’ effort to ramp up sanctions on the isolated east Asian nation.
“The four islands of the [Japanese] archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” the country’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA. “Japan is no longer needed to exist near us.”
Juche, or “self-reliance”, is the official ideology of North Korea, originally crafted in the 1950s by founding father Kim Il Sung — grandfather of the current supreme leader, Kim Jong Un.
Accusing Japan of “dancing to the tune of the US sanctions”, the peace committee also said Tokyo had “not yet come to senses after the launch of our ICBM over the Japanese archipelago”.
Late last month North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, a move that prompted US President Donald Trump to warn that “all options are on the table” for dealing with Pyongyang’s weapons programmes.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s cabinet secretary, hit back at North Korea on Thursday, saying the threat to his nation was “outrageous and provocative in the extreme” and warning that it would “considerably raise regional tensions”.
The latest war of words comes as Pyongyang lashes out at the international community for imposing yet more sanctions on the reclusive regime after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test this month.
On Monday the UN Security Council agreed its latest round of measures, which include halting North Korean textile exports, capping fuel imports and banning the use of North Korean overseas labour.
The move, aimed at putting pressure on North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons programme, could deprive the regime of more than $1.3bn in annual revenues.
Following the vote, Pyongyang said it would redouble its efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction, warning that the US would face the “greatest pain it ever experienced”.
North Korean state rhetoric is regularly shrill and forms part of a policy of coercive diplomacy in which it threatens conflict in an attempt to cow opponents into concessions.
The US was the “chief culprit” for the sanctions, which amounted to “state terrorism”, the peace committee said, adding: “Now is the time to annihilate the US imperialist aggressors.”
Meanwhile, South Korea on Thursday said it was considering providing $8m of aid to North Korea through international organisations as it attempts to spur cross-border engagement.
The move is likely to be criticised as detrimental to the “maximum pressure” strategy espoused by Japan and US for dealing with North Korea.