The Australian government had "better think twice" about Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's "reckless tongue-lashing," North Korea said, warning the country was "inching close to the brink of war."
"What she uttered can never be pardoned," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said. "The present Government of Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the US line."
"If Australia persists in following the US' moves to isolate and stifle North Korea … this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of North Korea," North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency quoted the spokesman as saying.
They also accused Australia of shielding a hostile US policy of nuclear threats and blackmail against North Korea, and said North Korea's nuclear weapons were "entirely just steps for self defense" and Bishop's statement was "an act against peace" which "can never be pardoned."
In response, Bishop said, "These present a grave threat to its neighbors, and if left unchecked, to the broader region including Australia. The North Korean Government should invest in the welfare of its long-suffering citizens, rather than weapons of mass destruction."
Earlier this week, Bishop told ABC that North Korea's nuclear weapons "posed a serious threat" to Australia and must be stopped.