North Korea has denounced Japan's decision to impose US-like trade restrictions against South Korea over a wartime dispute, calling the move a threat to “the trend of peace" on the Korean peninsula.
Earlier this month, Tokyo restricted exports of three chemicals vital to South Korea’s electronics industry citing “security concerns.” It claimed that some of the supplies may have ended up in North Korea, which is under US sanctions over its nuclear program.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), called Japan Pyongyang's "sworn enemy" and accused it of "trying to destroy the trend of peace on the Korean Peninsula by putting pressure upon South Korea through the restrictions.”
"The human, physical and emotional damage Japan has caused to the Korean people (during its colonial rule) cannot be compensated even if the entire nation of Japan sacrifices itself,” it wrote.
Ties between Tokyo and Seoul — both US allies — have long been strained over a worsening dispute related to Tokyo's colonial rule of the Korean peninsula in 1910-45.
Last year, a South Korean court ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's occupation of the country.
Japan rejects the court ruling, saying that all compensation issues have already been settled under a 1965 bilateral treaty. It as sought third-party arbitration to resolve the dispute , a request Seoul rejected on Friday.
The South has also accused Japan of weaponizing trade in response to the court ruling.
This has prompted the South to warn Tokyo that it has "all options" open on the fate of a military intelligence-sharing deal known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement if Japan does not withdraw its trade restrictions. Singed in November 2016, the GSOMIA is an intelligence-sharing pact that enables Seoul and Tokyo to share intelligence regarding North Korea.
Japan has always sided with the US over putting pressure on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile activities.
Relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang were believed to be getting better since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier this year that he was ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “unconditionally.”
North Korea, however, has not shown interest in engagement with Tokyo. This is while Kim has had summits with several world leaders including South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, US President Donald Trump, China's President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months.