Will finish South, warns N Korea

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un threatened to ''wipe out” a South Korean island as Pyongyang came under new economic and diplomatic fire on Tuesday from US sanctions and UN charges of gross rights abuses.

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen to their highest level for years, with the communist state under the youthful Kim threatening nuclear war in response to UN sanctions imposed after its third atomic test last month.

It has also announced its unilateral shredding of the 60-year-old Korean War armistice and non-aggression pacts with Seoul in protest at a joint South Korean-US military exercise that began Monday. While most of these statements have been dismissed as rhetorical bluster, the latest threat to the border island of Baengnyeong, which has around 5,000 civilian residents, appears credible and carries the weight of precedent.

In 2010, the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan was sunk in the area of Baengnyeong with the loss of 46 lives, and later that year North Korea shelled the nearby island of Yeonpyeong, killing four people.

On a visit on Monday to frontline artillery units, Kim Jong-Un briefed officers on their mission “to strike and wipe out the enemies” on Baengnyeong and turn the island into a “sea of fire”.

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