North Korea threatens "final destruction" of South Korea

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un
Image caption North Korea criticised for South Korea "destruction" remarks

North Korea has been criticised for remarks about the "final destruction" of South Korea made during a UN debate on disarmament.

North Korean diplomat Jon Yong Ryong told the meeting in Geneva that "South Korea's erratic behaviour would only herald its final destruction".

The comments come after North Korea's third nuclear test on 12 February.

There was immediate criticism of the comments from other nations, including South Korea and Britain.

'Completely inappropriate'

Mr Jon said: "As the saying goes, a new-born puppy knows no fear of a tiger. South Korea's erratic behaviour would only herald its final destruction."

Without specifically referring to the nuclear test, Mr Jon said North Korea had recently taken a "resolute step for self-defence", which he described as "strong counter-actions to a foreign aggressor".

"If the US takes a hostile approach toward the DPRK (North Korea) to the last, rendering the situation complicated, it (North Korea) will be left with no option but to take the second and third stronger steps in succession," he added.

Britain's ambassador at the talks, Joanne Adamson, said such language was "completely inappropriate".

She said the discussion with North Korea was heading in the wrong direction.

South Korean ambassador Kwon Haeryong said that Pyongyang would do better to ensure a better life for its people, in a country which has suffered intermittent famines in the past two decades.

"Everybody knows that North Korea is committing enormous resources to developing nuclear weapons and a missile capability. But it is very regrettable that a chronic food shortage persists and continually threatens people," Mr Kwon said.