This undated picture released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DORK) on Sept 12, 2017 shows DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, center, attending a photo session with teachers who volunteered to work at branch schools on islands and schools in forefront line and mountainous areas, in Pyongyang. (STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)
SEOUL/JAPAN – A state agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) threatened Thursday to use nuclear weapons to "sink" Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for supporting a UN Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.
Pyongyang's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee also called for the breakup of the Security Council, which it called "a tool of evil" made up of "money-bribed" countries that move at the order of the United States.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on a US-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions on Monday in response, banning the DPRK’s textile exports and capping fuel supplies
"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 DPRK’s official KCNA news agency.
Juche is the DPRK’s ruling ideology that mixes Marxism and nationalism preached DPRK state founder Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong-un.
Regional tensions have risen markedly since Pyongyang 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 in response, banning the DPRK’s textile exports that are the second largest only to coal and mineral, and capping fuel supplies.
Pyongyang reacted to the latest action by the Security Council by reiterating threats to destroy the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
"Let's reduce the US mainland into ashes and darkness. Let's vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now," the statement said.
"DANCING TO THE TUNE"
The DPRK’s latest threats also singled out Japan for "dancing to the tune" of the United States, 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.
It also referred to the ROK as "traitors and dogs" of the US.
Japan criticized the DPRK’s statement harshly.
"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 told a regular news conference on Thursday.
The DPRK had already categorically rejected the Security Council resolution imposing sanctions over its latest test, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of international pressure.
The latest sanctions make it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with DPRK entities.
The DPRK accuses the US, which has 28,500 troops in the ROK, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.
The US and the ROK are technically still at war with the DPRK because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.
MATTIS STICKS WITH CURRENT US NUCLEAR FRAMEWORK
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he's become convinced that the US must keep all three parts of its nuclear force — rather than eliminate one of them, as he once suggested.
That force consists of land-based missiles — known as intercontinental ballistic missiles — as well as missiles launched from submarines and from planes.
Before Mattis became President Donald Trump's Pentagon chief in January, he'd suggested ICBMs might be expendable.
But he says his view has changed.
Mattis says the key to avoiding nuclear war is maintaining a nuclear arsenal sufficient to convince a potential enemy that attacking the United States with a nuclear weapon would be suicidal. He says he's has been persuaded that the current framework "is the right way to go."
Mattis spoke to reporters as he flew to a nuclear base in North Dakota.