SEOUL • A North Korean state agency threatened yesterday to use nuclear weapons to "sink" Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for backing a United Nations Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.
Pyongyang's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles the North'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 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-it-alone nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
Regional tension has risen markedly since the North conducted its sixth, and by far its 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 on Monday, banning North Korea's textile exports that are the second-largest only to coal and mineral, and capping fuel supplies.
The North reacted to the latest sanctions, which had the backing of veto-holding China and Russia, by reiterating threats to destroy the US, Japan and South Korea.
Despite the tension, South Korea said it planned to provide US$8 million (S$10.8 million) through the UN World Food Programme and Unicef to help infants and pregnant women in the North. The move marks Seoul's first humanitarian aid for the North after its fourth nuclear test last January, and is based on a longstanding policy of separating humanitarian aid from politics.
North Korea's latest threats also singled out Japan for "dancing to the tune" of the US, saying that 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. It also referred to South Korea as "traitors and dogs" of the US.
Criticising the North's statement, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said yesterday: "This announcement is extremely provocative and egregious. It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable."
North Korea had categorically rejected the Security Council resolution, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of international pressure.