North Korea warned on Monday the United States would pay a “due price” for spearheading a UN Security Council resolution against its latest nuclear test, as Washington presses for a vote to impose more sanctions on Pyongyang.
The call for additional sanctions came after the North’s sixth nuclear test on September 3, which Pyongyang said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.
North Korea has also threatened to fire missiles into waters off the Pacific island of Guam, home to US military bases, as a show of force.
The United States wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on the North, block its export of textiles and freeze the financial assets of leader Kim Jong-un, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.
The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the United States was “going frantic” to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang’s nuclear test, which it said was part of “legitimate self-defensive measures.”
“In case the U.S. eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the US pays due price,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
DPRK is short for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged,” the unnamed spokesman said.
Japan backed the US push for a UN vote Monday on fresh sanctions against North Korea, saying that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Sunday urged tougher sanctions including on oil supplies to North Korea, and flagged that China has a key role to play.
“Japan’s security environment including North Korea is increasingly grave – perhaps it’s the most serious state in the post-war period,” Onodera told public broadcaster NHK. Cutting off North Korea’s oil, which mostly comes from China, will reduce the capabilities of the country’s military, he said.
KCNA had a different view: “The DPRK has developed and perfected the super-powerful thermonuclear weapon as a means to deter the ever-increasing hostile moves and nuclear threat of the U.S. and defuse the danger of nuclear war looming over the Korean peninsula and the region.”
There was no independent verification of the North’s claim to have conducted a hydrogen bomb test on September 3, but some experts said there was enough evidence to suggest Pyongyang had either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting close.
The head of the NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said North Korea’s “reckless behaviour” is a global threat and requires a global response.
Stoltenburg wouldn’t speculate on whether a North Korean attack on Guam would draw NATO into any ensuing conflict. NATO’s Article 5 requires each member of the alliance to come to the defence of any other.
“We are now totally focused on how can we contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict,” he said in an interview with BBC television.
“There is no easy way out of this difficult situation, but at the same time we have to … continue to work for political solution, continue to press also the economic sanctions.”
British defence minister Michael Fallon also spoke to the BBC about the danger of miscalculation.
“We are doing now what we can to bring about a diplomatic solution, what we have to avoid at all costs is this spilling over in to any kind of military conflict,” he said.
“We have to get this program halted because the dangers now of miscalculation, of some accident triggering a response are extremely great,” he said.