The threat followed a visit by Australia’s ministers for foreign affairs and defence to South Korea. Australia has not had an embassy in Pyongyang since 1974, while North Korea closed its modest embassy in Canberra in 2008, apparently because it was considered too expensive to run.
Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, said the letter from Pyongyang indicated that international sanctions were working.
“I think this shows they are feeling desperate, feeling isolated, trying to demonise the US, trying to divide the international community,” she told Fairfax Media.
“I read this as showing that the collective strategy of allies and partners to impose maximum pressure and diplomatic and economic sanctions on North Korea is working; this is a very unusual step of issuing an open letter of this character.”