North Korea has issued a strongly worded statement warning of catastrophic consequences for the United States and other countries that supported the recent U.N. resolution condemning North Korea’s human rights record. North Korea’s threat to retaliate could signal that it intends to soon conduct a new nuclear test.
The rare official announcement released by North Korea’s National Defense Commission reads more like a tirade. It refers to U.S. allies like South Korea as “riffraffs” — a term that means worthless. It calls North Korean defectors “human rubbish.” And it says the United States and its “follower forces,” meaning South Korea and Japan, will be “unable to escape the heavy blow of merciless punishment.”
The threats come in response to a recent United Nations committee vote calling on the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violations. The Kim Jong Un regime is accused of operating a network of political prisons holding more than 100,000 people and atrocities that include “murder, torture, rape, and forced abortions.”
Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University, said he is not surprised that Pyongyang is reacting with strong language but not – at least so far – military action.
He said he expected that North Korea would express resistance against the international community, including the United States and South Korea, by using rhetoric rather than military action.