North Korea sends letter to Australia, warns US threats a 'big miscalculation'

North Korean soldiers (rear) watch as Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (left) stands on the southern side of the military demarcation line between North and South Korea at the truce village of Panmunjom. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - North Korea has sent a letter to Australia's parliament, warning it is a nuclear power and will not be cowed by US President Donald Trump's threats to destroy it, according to a copy of the letter published in an Australian newspaper on Friday (Oct 20).

"If Trump thinks that he would bring the DPRK, a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat, it will be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance," said a facsimile of the letter, published by the Sydney Morning Herald and verified by Australia's foreign ministry.

"Trump threatened to totally destroy the DPRK ... it is an extreme act of threatening to totally destroy the whole world."

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

A spokesman for Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Reuters the Herald report was accurate and the paper's copy of the letter, dated Sept 28, was genuine.

Titled "Open Letter to Parliaments of Different Countries,"the note said it was sent from North Korea's Embassy in Jakarta to Australia's Embassy in the same city, as well as to other countries, without naming them.

The letter calls for "countries loving independence, peace and justice" to discharge their duty and keep "sharp vigilance against the heinous and reckless moves of the Trump administration trying to drive the world into a horrible nuclear disaster."

At a press conference in Sydney, the Australian foreign minister said the note was an "unprecedented"communication.

"It is not the way they usually publish their global messages. The collective strategy of imposing maximum diplomatic and economic pressure through sanctions on North Korea is working. This is a response to the pressure," said Bishop.

Tension has soared on the peninsula following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump, in a speech last month at the United Nations, threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to defend itself and allies and called the North's leader Kim Jong Un a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

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