North threatens retaliations over UN resolution

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North threatens retaliations over UN resolution

North Korea’s most powerful military organ threatened the United States, Japan and the South with menacing retaliations - including nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula - over their support of a United Nations resolution that could lead to prosecution of the Communist country’s leader for crimes against humanity.

The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday that a statement was issued by the National Defense Commission, its military’s highest decision-making body, announcing that the resolution is an explicit declaration of war that harms the country’s sovereignty.

A draft resolution, co-sponsored by 62 nations including the United States, Japan, South Korea and those belonging to the European Union, passed the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, local time, in New York.

The resolution, adopted by an overwhelming majority of the committee that handles human rights issues, urged the UN Security Council to refer North Korean leaders responsible for brutal human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Calling the resolution “a malicious plot created by the United States and its puppets,” the powerful National Defense Commission said it rejects the committee’s charges.

The state organization, which is chaired by its leader, Kim Jong-un, warned that the United States is now the nuclear-armed regime’s top target for a “super hard-line” retaliation.

The North said that Washington is paying it back with the “madness of the human rights ruckus” despite the generosity it showed to senior U.S. officials who recently visited the country to release American “criminals” from detention.

Earlier this month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper traveled to North Korea on a secret mission and secured the release of two American detainees. He also delivered a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama to the North as a special envoy.

Urging the Obama administration to make a formal apology for its behavior, the North said the same stance applies to Japan, the European Union and South Korean President Park Geun-hye and “her clique.”

The military commission said Japan cannot escape from Pyongyang’s retaliation. If the country does not change its attitude, it will be obliterated, the North warned.

The Communist state issued a threat to the South, too, stating that the Blue House’s presidential office will not be safe if a nuclear war breaks out on the peninsula.

The commission then advised the United Nations that it should remember what Pyongyang did two decades ago to defend the North’s interests. In 1993, it walked out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue an atomic arms program.

Yesterday’s warning appeared to hint at the North’s intention to conduct another nuclear test, which will be its fourth. Last year, Pyongyang threatened to hold another test, but it did not carry it out after a strong warning from Beijing.

In the statement, Pyongyang also expressed its appreciation toward the countries that voted against the resolution. Among the 185 countries that participated in the vote, 111 countries supported the resolution, while 19, including China, Russia and North Korea itself, voted against it.

Fifty-five nations abstained from making a decision.

In a separate report, the Korean Central News Agency said Sunday that Kim had guided a joint drill of the North’s military and complimented the readiness of his soldiers.

“The soldiers fought very well. No enemy can remain in their right mind against these soldiers,” Kim was quoted as saying. “I am having this unannounced guidance because today’s exercise is directly linked to tomorrow’s battle and the fate of our country.”

He also ordered the commanders to simulate a wide range of situations that could arise during modern warfare.

The report came as the South wrapped up its annual Hoguk Exercise last week. Exercise Max Thunder, the bilateral aerial training exercise of U.S. and South Korean Air Force pilots, also ended earlier this month.

Meanwhile, an online media outlet has reported that North Korea recently conducted a test of an ejection launcher for a submarine-launched ballistic missile program.

“The test simulated the initial stage of boosting a missile out of a submarine launch tube and is a sign that the rogue state is moving ahead with plans for underwater missile strike capabilities for a future nuclear-tipped missile,” the Washington Free Beacon reported Friday, citing defense officials.

The report said the test took place at Sinpo South Shipyard in South Hamgyong Province.


BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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