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Pyongyang 'sentences to death' reviewers of British book on North Korea

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Staff members in the Potonggang department store in Pyongyang (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Staff members in the Potonggang department store in Pyongyang (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Staff members in the Potonggang department store in Pyongyang (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

North Korea has vowed to execute reporters from two South Korean newspapers, saying they insulted the country's dignity while reviewing and interviewing the British authors of a book about the isolated nation.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency carried a state court statement expressing anger over the descriptions of North Korean lives as increasingly capitalist.

It also objected to the translated title of the South Korean edition as Capitalist People's Republic Of Korea and the book's cover that replaced the red star in North Korea's official seal with the US dollar mark.

The court also "sentenced to death" the presidents of the newspapers and said the North will "track down to the end and cut off the dirty windpipes" of those responsible for such provocations.

The North did not directly threaten the British authors of North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters And Defectors, but said the book "viciously defamed and distorted" the country's realities.

The book was written by Daniel Tudor, a former Economist reporter, and James Pearson, a Reuters correspondent.

North Korean propaganda is often filled with odd and extreme threats.

In June, it vowed to execute South Korea's former president and her spy chief over an alleged plot to assassinate its leadership. Seoul's National Intelligence Service denied the claim.

The North also threatened South Korean news organisations in 2012.

Its military warned that its troops had aimed artillery at the specific co-ordinates of some Seoul-based newspapers and TV stations over their critical reports on children's festivals that had been taking place in Pyongyang.

The North did not carry out on the threat to wage a "merciless sacred war" over the perceived insults.

AP