N Korea threatens to ‘sink’ Japan, reduce US to ‘ashes’
SEOUL — North Korea yesterday threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Japan and turn the United States into “ashes and darkness” for passing fresh United Nations sanctions earlier this week — fiery rhetoric that is likely to exacerbate tensions in North Asia.
“Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” said the state-run Korean Central News Agency yesterday, citing a statement by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, an affiliate of the ruling Workers’ Party that handles the North’s external ties and propaganda.
“The four islands of the archipelago should be sunk into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” it said, a reference to the North’s ruling ideology that mixes Marxism and an extreme form of go-it-alone nationalism.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the comments, which sent the Korean won lower, “extremely provocative”.
“It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Suga told reporters in Tokyo.
“If North Korea stays the course that it is on, it will increasingly become isolated from the world. Through implementing the new United Nations Security Council resolution and related agreements, the international community as a whole needs to maximise pressure on North Korea so that it will change its policy.”
The latest UN sanctions follow North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test earlier this month. Late last month, the regime launched a ballistic missile over northern Japan in what it said was “muscle-flexing” to protest annual military drills between the United States and South Korea.
Leader Kim Jong-un called it a