- North Korea cancelled non-aggression pact in anger over sanctions
- Comes after North Korea threatened a nuclear strike against U.S.
- White House dismisses communist regime’s ‘ballistic missile’ threats
- China calls for ‘restraint’ to avoid possibility of ‘further escalations’
- New UN-approved sanctions target North Korea’s economy and leadership
- Nation is expanding secretive network of brutal prison camps
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today told his troops to be ready for ‘all-out war’ and instructed them to ‘make the first gunfire’ if tensions with South Korea boil over.
He also promised a ‘great advance’ over the border between the two nations, shortly after the North announced that it had abandoned its peace treaty with the South.
The pariah state has launched a new round of warlike rhetoric in anger over tough new sanctions imposed on it.
The UN Security council voted to impose the fresh round of sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy and leadership in the wake of the country’s third nuclear test.
Border: According to state media reports Kim Jong-Un visited the Janjae Islet Defence Detachment on the front, near the border with South Korea yesterday
Now the country has announced it is cancelling all non-aggression pacts with its southern neighbour, closing its hotline with Seoul, and shutting their shared border point.
North Korea, which has already threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the U.S., has said it will retaliate with ‘crushing strikes’ if enemies intrude into its territory ‘even an inch and fire even a single shell’.
The state’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, its arm for dealing with cross-border affairs with Seoul, added that it was voiding past nuclear disarmament agreements between North and South Korea.
The announcement was broadcast by North Korea’s KCNA state news agency.
South and North Korea agreed in a 1992 joint declaration not to produce, test or use nuclear weapons. North Korea has since conducted three nuclear tests.
The Obama administration yesterday dismissed the threats issued by North Korea and warned that the U.S. was ‘fully capable’ of defending itself from a ballistic missile attack by the communist regime.
China, North Korea’s only major ally, urged restraint and called for further talks to prevent the flare-up of a war which would destabilise the region.
A spokesman for the foreign ministry said: ‘China calls on the relevant parties to be calm and exercise restraint and avoid taking any further action that would cause any further escalations.’
North Korea state media warned of a ‘thermonuclear war’ as an unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said the North would exercise its right for ‘pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the headquarters of the aggressors’.
North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs but is not thought to have the ability to produce a warhead that could be used on a missile capable of reaching the U.S.
In response to North Korea’s third nuclear test on February 3, the UN Security Council voted to tighten financial restrictions on Pyongyang and crack down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo.
The resolution, which was approved unanimously by the 15-nation council, was the product of three weeks of negotiations between the U.S. and China after North Korea’s nuclear test on February 12.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, said the resolution ‘sent an unequivocal message to [North Korea] that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons.’
It targets North Korea’s ruling elite by banning all nations from exporting expensive jewelry, yachts, luxury automobiles and race cars to the North. It also imposes new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies.
The success of the sanctions could depend on how well they are enforced by China, where most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based.
In response to the threat of a nuclear strike this week, the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, Glyn Davies, said America will take necessary steps to defend itself and its allies.
Referring to warnings from Pyongyang made in ‘recent hours and days’, he called on the North not to miscalculate and said the U.S. was working with South Korea to ensure it is ready for any threats that arise.
Senator Robert Menendez said the North’s ‘absurd’ threat of a nuclear strike on the U.S. would be tantamount to suicide.
Threat: Kim Jong-Un, left, claps at the launch of the Unha-3 rocket, right
North Korean propaganda video threatening the U.S.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: ‘North Korea will achieve nothing by continued threats and provocations.
‘These will only further isolate the country and its people and undermine international efforts to promote peace and stability in northeast Asia’.
She continued: ‘The strength, breadth and severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to North Korea of its illicit nuclear program and further constrain its ability to finance and source materials and technology for its ballistic missile, conventional and nuclear weapons programme.
‘When North Korea tries to move money to pay for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, countries must now block those transfers even if the money is being carried in suitcases full of bulk cash.’
China’s Ambassador Li Baodong reiterated Beijing’s calls for a resumption of the stalled six-party aid-for-disarmament talks between the two Koreas, United States, China, Russia and Japan.
‘We want to see full implementation of the resolution,’ China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters. ‘The top priority now is to defuse the tension, bring down heat, focus on the diplomatic track.’
Council diplomats say the point of the new measures is to bring the North Korea sanctions regime more in line with the tough UN measures in place against Iran.
They say the UN sanctions regime against Iran over its nuclear program, which Western powers and their allies say is intended for making weapons but Tehran claims is peaceful, has been more effective than the restrictions on Pyongyang.
Warning: Officials at a ceremony following a recent successful nuclear test in North Korea, which today sent a warning to the top U.S. commander in South Korea over its plans for joint drills
Pyongyang was hit with UN sanctions for its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, measures that were subsequently tightened and expanded after several rocket launches. In addition to the luxury goods ban, there is an arms embargo on North Korea, and it is forbidden from trading in nuclear and missile technology.
It imposes an obligation on the United Nations’ 193 member states to block any financial services or monetary transfers that ‘could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs.’
It also adds a binding obligation on countries to ‘not provide public financial support for trade with the DPRK’ if it could in any way support North Korea’s nuclear or missile work.
After Tuesday’s announcement over the end of the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War, the North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, said: ‘With the armistice nullified, it would be no surprise if a global thermonuclear war breaks out.’
Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for a handful of crude nuclear devices.
Yesterday it emerged that the regime has built a huge ‘security perimeter’ around a prison camp restricting movement in nearby villages according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
The country’s network of political prison camps is believed to hold at least 200,000 people and has been the scene of rapes, torture, executions and slave labour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in January.
Analysis of new satellite images of the area near Camp No. 14 in Kaechon shows that the government is ‘blurring the lines’ between its camps and surrounding civilians, Amnesty said.
The images show that between 2006 and 2013, North Korea has constructed 20km (12 miles) of posts around the Ch’oma-Bong valley located 70km north of Pyongyang.
The new perimeter encloses civilian villages with a series of check points and guard towers, Amnesty said in a statement voicing fears about government intentions for the valley, 70 km north of the capital Pyongyang.
‘The security and control adjacent to Camp 14 shows the degree to which general repression and restrictions on the right to liberty of movement have become commonplace in North Korea,’ said Rajiv Narayan, North Korea researcher for Amnesty.
The London-based group called on the U.N. Human Rights Council, holding its main annual session in Geneva through March 22, to launch an international commission of inquiry into grave and systematic violations ‘including crimes against humanity’.
North Korea denies the existence of a network of camps.