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News - Politics

North Korea threatens to 'sink' Japan and turn U.S. to 'ashes and darkness'

Pyongyang steps up fiery rhetoric in response to new UN sanctions.

The communist nation is isolated but has some impressive firepower. USA TODAY

A man in Tokyo Japan watches a TV news program on a public screen showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while reporting North Korea's possible nuclear test on Sept. 3, 2017. South Korea's military said Sunday that North Korea is believed to have conducted its sixth nuclear test after it detected a strong earthquake, hours after Pyongyang claimed that its leader has inspected a hydrogen bomb meant for a new intercontinental ballistic missile.(Photo: Eugene Hoshiko, AP)

North Korea threatened Thursday to use nuclear weapons to "sink" Japan and turn the United States into "ashes and darkness," in reaction to the new U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs. 

"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," said the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which is North Korea's official propaganda arm. 

More: Defectors provide rare glimpse of isolated life in North Korea

Juche, which translates as "self-reliance," is Pyongyang’s ruling ideology, a blend of Marxism and hyper-nationalism.

The sanctions were unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council this week after North Korea’s sixth, and possibly most powerful, nuclear test this month. Leader Kim Jong Un had also threatened to launch missiles over Japan into the Pacific and toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

The moves have elicited a series of counter-threats from President Trump, although the possibility of war remains remote. The North Korean statement also called for the breakup of the U.N. Security Council, calling it "a tool of evil" and comprised of "money-bribed" nations.

Anglers compete during a fishing contest at Pothong riverside in Pyongyang. , Sept. 14, 2017. Some 60 people participated in the event and tried to catch carp and catfish.  Jon Chol Jin, AP

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The skyline of Pyongyang, Sept. 20, 2017.  Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images

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This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sept. 21, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting a fruit farm in the South Hwanghae Province.  Korean Central News Agency via

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A football match is played on a pitch between buildings in Pyongyang Sept. 20, 2017. /  Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images

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A group of North Korean tourists stand before the city skyline atop the Juche tower in Pyongyang Sept. 20, 2017.  Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images

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A North Korean soldier stands on the bank of the Yalu river near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on Sept. 4, 2017.  AFP

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Fireworks go off while Pyongyang residents and military people hold a celebration rally on the test of a hydrogen bomb for ICBM at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, Sept. 4, 2017.   North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency via AFP/Getty Images

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This coastline (top) above the barbed-wire fence is the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on Ganghwa island on Sept. 4, 2017.North Korea could be preparing another   Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images

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Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers cheer while watching fireworks during a mass celebration in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date.Sept. 6, 2017. Citizens of the capital lined the streets to wave pink and purple pom-poms and cheer a convoy of buses carrying the specialists into the city, and toss confetti over them as they walked into Kim Il-Sung Square.  Kim Won-Jin, AFP/Getty Images

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Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers attend a mass celebration in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date, Sept. 6, 2017.   KIM WON-JIN, AFP/Getty Images

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The sun rises over North Korea and the Yalu river which forms the border between China and North Korea, as seen from Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on Sept. 5, 2017.  Greg Baker, AFP/Getty Images

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Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, called the North's comments extremely provocative and outrageous" and said that if "North Korea stays the course that it is on, it will increasingly become isolated."

Suga said the North's statement "significantly escalates tensions in the region."

In Seoul, the South Korean government said it was considering providing the North, via U.N. agencies, $8 million in aid for humanitarian assistance for infants and pregnant women, according to the South's Yonhap News Agency.

"The government's basic stance is that humanitarian assistance to those who are vulnerable in North Korea should be continued regardless of political considerations," the agency reported, citing Seoul's unification ministry, which aims to promote Korean reunification.  

The U.N. estimates about 18 million North Koreans out of its population of 25 million suffer from food shortages and malnutrition.

The new U.N. sanctions ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates and cap imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months. A ban was also placed on its textile exports — its largest export after coal and other minerals. The measures prohibit all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers. All are important sources of currency for the isolated nation. The sanctions add to restrictions on iron ore exports and limits to Pyongyang’s use of foreign banks. 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to use its influence as North Korea’s principal supplier of oil to press Pyongyang into reconsidering its development of nuclear weapons.

Tillerson said it would be “very difficult” to get China to consent to an oil embargo against its neighbor, but he still asked China as a “great country and a world power” to use its leverage as the supplier of virtually all North Korea’s oil.

“That is a very powerful tool and it has been used in the past,” Tillerson said Thursday. “We hope China will not reject that.”

Tillerson spoke after talks in London with senior British and French officials on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, “The Chinese have done more perhaps than we thought that they would, but there is scope for them to do much, much more, particularly in respect to oil.”

A report Thursday in the Nikkei, a Japanese newspaper, said satellite imagery appeared to indicate that North Korea was preparing for another long-range missile test. 

Pyongyang was expected to test an intercontinental ballistic rocket last Sunday as North Koreans celebrated the country’s 69th anniversary of its founding, but the test did not happen.  

More: Can North Korea target a U.S. city? Experts say not yet

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un has apparently been using old Google earth photos to 'pinpoint' his targets. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland). Buzz60

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