N. Korea warns Japan of ‘high price’ for ‘persecution’ of pro-Pyongyang Koreans in Japan

SEOUL– North Korea warned Wednesday that Japan will “pay a high price” if it continues to unduly persecute and oppress a group of pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans in Japan, mentioning its firing in October of a ballistic missile over the neighboring country.

North Korea regarded “persecution and oppression” against the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, also known as Chongryon, and North Koreans living in Japan as a challenge to its dignity and sovereignty, according to a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We’ve solemnly stated that the Oct. 4 firing of a new type of a ground-to-ground intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) is a warning to our enemies over instability on the Korean Peninsula,” the KCNA said, referring to the North’s launch of the Hwasong-12 ballistic missile over Japan.

“Whether this warning will lead to actual results will depend on attitudes of hostile forces, including Japan,” it said, warning Japan will “pay a high price” against anti-North Korea acts.

The commentary appears to refer to an increase in hate crimes reported against students at schools for ethnic Koreans in Japan.

Chongryon is the largest organization of pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans in Japan that was established in 1955.

North Korea has ratcheted up tensions on the peninsula by launching missiles at a record pace this year amid speculation that it may conduct a nuclear test soon.

Pyongyang fired an IRBM over Japan for the first time in five years last month. It launched an intercontinental ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Nov. 3, but the missile did not fly over Japan as it is presumed to have ended in failure.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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