Seoul: North Korea`s top military body warned Sunday of "catastrophic consequences" for supporters of a UN resolution censuring its human rights record, as state media reported its leader presiding over a fresh military exercise.
A resolution urging the United Nations Security Council to refer the North`s leadership to the International Criminal Court for possible charges of "crimes against humanity" passed by 111 to 19 with 55 abstentions at a UN General Assembly human rights committee last week.
The resolution, introduced by Japan and the European Union and co-sponsored by some 60 nations, drew heavily on the work of a UN enquiry which concluded in February that the North was committing rights abuses "without parallel in the contemporary world".
The North since then has repeatedly slammed the resolution as a political "fraud". On Thursday it warned that it was being pushed into conducting a fresh nuclear test.
The National Defence Commission (NDC), chaired by the country`s leader Kim Jong-Un, said Sunday the resolution amounted to a "war declaration" which "dared take issue with the dignity of our supreme leadership".
The resolution makes no mention of Kim but notes the UN enquiry`s finding -- that the "highest level of the state" has responsibility for the rights abuses.
The dignity of its leader "cannot be bartered for anything", the NDC said in a statement, adding that Japan as well as South Korea and the US -- co-sponsors of the UN resolution -- were Pyongyang`s "primary target."
"The US and its followers will be wholly accountable for the unimaginable and catastrophic consequences to be entailed by the frantic `human rights` racket against the (North)," it said.
As Pyongyang ramped up its threats, Kim guided a major military drill involving sea transport and amphibious landing craft, the state-run news agency KCNA said.
The NDC also said that South Korean President Park Geun-Hye would not be safe "if a nuclear war breaks out" on the Korean peninsula, and its attacks could make Japan "disappear from the world map for good".
The isolated state has staged three atomic tests -- most recently in 2013, which was its most powerful test to date.
Last week the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its 38 North website that new satellite imagery suggested Pyongyang may be firing up a facility for processing weapons-grade plutonium.
South Korea said last week its military was on standby, and the US Thursday described the North`s renewed threat of a nuclear test as a "great concern".
Sunday`s threat and the report of Kim`s military trip coincided with the anniversary of Pyongyang`s shock bombardment of a border island that killed four South Koreans.
The shelling of Yeonpyeong island in 2010 was the first such attack on civilians since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and briefly sparked fear of all-out conflict.
Seoul`s military, which since then has reinforced troops and weaponry on the island, on Friday staged a live-fire exercise there as part of a major annual nationwide drill.
The North reacted angrily to the drill, accusing the South of pushing the peninsula to the "brink of war."
The South`s Hoguk exercise, which ended on Friday, involved a record number of 330,000 troops this year.