Skip to main content

After threats against U.S., North Korea turns ire to South

By K.J. Kwon and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 10:47 AM EST, Sat January 26, 2013
A North Korean soldier uses binoculars on Thursday, February 6, to look at South Korea from the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War. A new <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/17/world/asia/north-korea-un-report/index.html'>United Nations report</a> describes a brutal North Korean state "that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world." A North Korean soldier uses binoculars on Thursday, February 6, to look at South Korea from the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War. A new United Nations report describes a brutal North Korean state "that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world."
HIDE CAPTION
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.S. envoy calls North Korean threats "troubling," "counterproductive" and "inflammatory"
  • Pyongyang threatens "physical counter-measures" against South Korea
  • It says it will act if South Korea takes a "direct part" in new U.N. sanctions
  • A day earlier, the North said a new nuclear test would be part of its fight against the U.S.

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- "Troubling and counterproductive" rhetoric from North Korea is inflaming tensions on the Korean peninsula, but ultimately, "we will judge North Korea by its actions, not its words," the U.S. envoy to North Korea said Friday.

In its latest bout of saber-rattling, North Korea on Friday warned of the possibility of "strong physical counter-measures" against South Korea after the United Nations imposed tougher sanctions against the North earlier this week.

The threat against South Korea came a day after the North said it would carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches as part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States.

The statement Friday from North Korea's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said it would take action against South Korea if it "takes a direct part" in the U.N. sanctions.

U.N. Security Council slams North Korea

The South Korean Unification Ministry declined to comment specifically on the new threats from Pyongyang. It reiterated its stance that North Korea should refrain from further provocations.

"Now is a moment when I think all parties in the six-party process, in particular here, North Korea, should turn their attention to how to peacefully and diplomatically address challenges that concern them," U.S. envoy Glyn Davies said from Beijing.

North Korea's threats annoy China
North Korea move in 'defiance' of U.N.?
North Korea threatens new nuclear test
Could North Korea strike the U.S.?

The two Koreas have technically still been at war since the all-out conflict between them in the 1950s. Smaller scale clashes have occurred since then, most recently in November 2010 when North Korea shelled a South Korean island, killing several people.

South Korea and the United States are often the focus of menacing language from Pyongyang, but the latest U.N. sanctions, a response to a long-range rocket launched last month by the North, appear to have prompted a ratcheting up of the threats.

Opinion: For the U.N. and North Korea -- Game on

A displeased Chinese editorial

At the same time, North Korea's strong words and vow to conduct a third nuclear test -- previous ones took place in 2006 and 2009 -- appear to be testing the patience of its main ally, China, which voted in favor of the U.N. sanctions this week.

An editorial published Friday in the English-language edition of the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times struck a displeased tone over Pyongyang's comments a day earlier.

"China's role and position are clear when discussing the North Korea issue in the U.N. Security Council," the editorial said. "If North Korea engages in further nuclear tests, China will not hesitate to reduce its assistance to North Korea."

That prospect carries weight, since North Korea's impoverished economy relies heavily on China to stay afloat.

Global Times, whose editorial line often but not always reflects official Chinese policy, made it clear, though, that Beijing isn't about to cut Pyongyang loose.

Timeline: North Korea's rocket-fueled obsession

"If the U.S., Japan and South Korea promote extreme U.N. sanctions on North Korea, China will resolutely stop them and force them to amend these draft resolutions," the editorial said.

Global Times noted that Beijing had put "a lot of effort into amendments" to the resolution approved by the Security Council this week.

What is a successful rocket launch?
Rocket will provoke 'significant' action

"It seems that North Korea does not appreciate China's efforts," it said. "It criticized China without explicitly naming it in its statement yesterday."

The newspaper was referring to a passage in the controversial North Korean statement Thursday that said that "big countries, which are obliged to take the lead in building a fair world order, are abandoning without hesitation even elementary principle, under the influence of the U.S. arbitrary and high-handed practices."

The Global Times editorial also suggested that North Korea shouldn't rank too highly among China's priorities.

"China hopes for a stable peninsula, but it's not the end of the world if there's trouble there," it said, referring to the Korean peninsula that comprises North and South Korea. "This should be the baseline of China's position."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday had urged North Korea and the West to "keep calm, remain cautious and refrain from any action that might escalate the situation in the region."

How dangerous is North Korea's nuke capability?

U.S. concerned but prepared

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday there are no "outward indications" that North Korea is about to conduct a nuclear test, but he admitted it would be hard to determine that in advance.

"They have the capability, frankly, to conduct these tests in a way that makes it very difficult to determine whether or not they are doing it," he said in a Pentagon press conference.

"We are very concerned with North Korea's continuing provocative behavior," Panetta said, but he added that the United States is "fully prepared" to deal with any provocations.

New nuclear test part of fight against U.S.

CNN's K.J. Kwon reported from Seoul, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Jaime A. FlorCruz in Beijing contributed to this report. Mark Morgenstein updated from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
updated 12:30 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
updated 3:17 AM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
updated 6:50 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state, the UN reported.
updated 11:31 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
updated 10:27 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation, but North Korea's ski resort is world class.
updated 10:15 PM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
updated 9:13 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Why is he being held by North Korea in a prison camp? These are the questions for many since his arrest in the isolated country in 2012.
updated 3:18 AM EST, Mon January 27, 2014
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
updated 8:26 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Dennis Rodman's "Big Bang in Pyongyang" may be in a league of its own, but other stars too have mixed with repressive regimes before.
updated 1:00 PM EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
updated 9:50 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
updated 10:58 AM EST, Fri December 13, 2013
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
ADVERTISEMENT