North Korean threat to sink Ja­pan

• State agency also con­demns US over UN res­o­lu­tion and sanc­tions

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Jack Kim and Kiyoshi Tak­e­naka Seoul/Tokyo

A North Korean state agency threat­ened on Thurs­day to use nu­clear weapons to sink Ja­pan and re­duce the US to “ashes and dark­ness” for sup­port­ing a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and sanc­tions over its lat­est nu­clear test.

A North Korean state agency threat­ened on Thurs­day to use nu­clear weapons to sink Ja­pan and re­duce the US to “ashes and dark­ness” for sup­port­ing a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and sanc­tions re­gard­ing its lat­est nu­clear test.

The Korea Asia-Pa­cific Peace Com­mit­tee, which han­dles the North’s ex­ter­nal ties and pro­pa­ganda, also called for the dis­so­lu­tion of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which it called “a tool of evil” made up of “mon­ey­bribed” coun­tries that move at the or­der of the US.

“The four is­lands of the ar­chi­pel­ago should be sunken 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 the North’s of­fi­cial KCNA news agency.

Juche is the North’s rul­ing ide­ol­ogy that mixes Marx­ism and an ex­treme form of go-italone na­tion­al­ism preached by state founder Kim Il-sung, the grand­fa­ther of cur­rent leader Kim Jong-un.

Re­gional ten­sion has risen markedly since the reclu­sive North con­ducted its sixth, and by far its most pow­er­ful, nu­clear test on Septem­ber 3, fol­low­ing a se­ries of mis­sile tests in­clud­ing of one that flew over Ja­pan.

The 15-mem­ber Se­cu­rity Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously on a US-drafted res­o­lu­tion and a new round of sanc­tions on Mon­day in re­sponse, ban­ning North Korea’s textile ex­ports, the sec­ond­largest only to coal and min­er­als, and cap­ping fuel sup­plies.

The North re­acted to the lat­est ac­tion by the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which had the back­ing of veto-hold­ing China and Rus­sia, by re­it­er­at­ing threats to de­stroy the US, Ja­pan and South Korea.

“Let’s re­duce the US main­land into ashes and dark­ness. Let’s vent our spite with mo­bil­i­sa­tion of all re­tal­i­a­tion means, which have been pre­pared un­til now,” the state­ment said.

Ja­pan’s Nikkei stock index and dol­lar/yen cur­rency pared gains, although traders said that

was more be­cause of sev­eral Chi­nese eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors that were re­leased on Thurs­day than a re­ac­tion to the North’s lat­est state­ment.

South Korea’s won also

edged down at about the same time over fi­nan­cial con­cerns.

De­spite the North’s threats, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said that he was op­posed to hav­ing nu­clear weapons in

his coun­try. “To re­spond to North Korea by hav­ing our own nu­clear weapons will not main­tain peace on the Korean penin­sula and could lead to a nu­clear arms race in North­east Asia,”

Moon said in an in­ter­view with TV chan­nel CNN.

South Korea’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­istry also said it planned to pro­vide $8m through the UN World Food Pro­gramme and Unicef to help in­fants and preg­nant women in the North.

The move marks Seoul’s first hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance for the North since its fourth nu­clear test in Jan­uary 2016 and is based on a long­stand­ing pol­icy of separat­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid from pol­i­tics, the min­istry said.

DANC­ING TO THE TUNE

The North’s lat­est 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.

The North also re­ferred to South Korea as “traitors and dogs” of the US.

Ja­pan’s gov­ern­ment harshly crit­i­cised the North’s state­ment. “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.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, vis­it­ing In­dia, called for strict en­force­ment of the UN res­o­lu­tion, say­ing the world must force a change.

AFP Photo

Ban the bomb: In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign to Abol­ish Nu­clear Weapons ac­tivists wear masks of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un while pos­ing with a mock mis­sile in front of the North Korean em­bassy in Ber­lin on Wed­nes­day. /

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