North Korea has threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Japan, further escalating tensions in North Asia after United Nations imposed sanctions on the country.
“Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Thursday, citing a statement by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. “The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” the committee said, referring to the North’s ruling ideology. “Let’s reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now,” the committee said.
North Korea has also criticized Seoul for supporting the latest UN resolution.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the comments, “extremely provocative.”
“If North Korea stays the course that it is on, it will increasingly become isolated from the world,” Suga said. “Through implementing the new United Nations Security Council resolution and related agreements, the international community as a whole needs to maximize 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. In late August, the regime launched a ballistic missile over northern Japan to protest annual military drills between the US and South Korea. North Korea previously threatened to launch rockets over Japan into the Pacific and toward the US territory.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned the launch, while US President Donald Trump reiterated that “all options” were under consideration in responding to North Korea’s provocations.
“The South Korean puppet forces are traitors and dogs of the U.S. as they call for harsher ‘sanctions’ on the fellow countrymen,” KCNA said. “The group of pro-American traitors should be severely punished and wiped out with fire attack so that they could no longer survive.”
The threat comes a day after a Japanese lawmaker said some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party were considering visiting Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leaders.