North Korea Warns Japan, Sanctions Would Be Tantamount To A Declaration Of War
North Korea said on Friday that its relations with Japan were inching toward a 'dangerous phase of explosion' and reiterated that Tokyo imposing economic sanctions would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
Public anger in Japan over Pyongyang's abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s combined with concern over its nuclear arms programmes have led to calls for sanctions against the reclusive communist state. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, however, has been cautious about Tokyo taking that step unless the United States and other countries also act. 'The DPRK (North Korea) clearly stated more than once that it would regard any sanctions against it as a declaration of war,' said a commentary in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried by Pyongyang's KCNA news agency. 'Nevertheless, the Japanese reactionaries are contemplating the application of economic sanctions against the DPRK,' the commentary said. 'The hostile relations between the two countries are now inching close to the dangerous phase of explosion. 'Under this situation the DPRK is left with no option but to take a decisive counter-measure. The army and the people of the DPRK value its sovereignty as their life and soul and will never allow anyone to infringe upon it,' it added. With concern mounting that Pyongyang may conduct an underground test of a nuclear device, and with six-party talks on its nuclear programme stalled for nearly a year, pressure has been increasing on the United States to open dialogue with the North. Washington and Tokyo, for their part, have made clear that patience was wearing thin and that they would consider taking the matter to the U.N. Security Council, a prelude to possible economic sanctions, if Pyongyang continued to drag its feet. The six-party talks comprise the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia. North Korea says Japan ties near 'dangerous phase'