North Korea has accused China, its only international ally, of giving in to American demands.
Last week, China announced a ban on coal imports during 2017, in response to North Korea’s continuing ballistic missile tests.
The Pyongyang statement did not name China, but referred to a “neighboring country” which “often claims” to be friendly.
“This country, styling itself a big power, is dancing to the tune of the US,” the state-run KCNA news agency said.
In a direct reference to the ban on imports, the Pyongyang statement said China had “taken inhumane steps such as totally blocking foreign trade”, which would help its enemies “to bring down the social system” in North Korea.
North Korea relies on the coal trade with China for cash income.
Although China backs North Korea, alone among the international community, it has been a critic of its nuclear program, and has backed UN sanctions against it.
China’s ban on coal imports came a week after North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
The following day, Chinese media reported that a coal shipment from North Korea worth $1 million had been stopped at Wenzhou port, on China’s eastern coast, before the ban was officially announced a few days later.
Image source Getty Images
North Korea claims to have advanced nuclear capabilities that have never been verified. The country said it created a nuclear weapon in just a few years without any external aid.
If North Korea successfully created a fully functional inter-continental ballistic missile, it could conceivably threaten the US – about 5,500 miles away – as well as closer neighbors.
Howver, the government remains defiant in the face of international pressure.
“It is utterly childish to think that [North Korea] would not manufacture nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic rockets if a few [pennies] of money is cut off,” it said in its statement.
The words “dancing to the tune of the US” may refer to President Donald Trump’s remarks, before taking office, that China should bring North Korea “under control”.
Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox and Friends on January 4: “China has… total control over North Korea.
“And China should solve that problem. And if they don’t solve the problem, we should make trade very difficult for China.”
The rebuke of its only ally is the second verbal attack on another nation by North Korea on the same day.
Earlier, the secretive country appeared to blame Malaysia for the death of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, and said the country was attempting to politicize the return of his body.
Kim Jong-nam died after being poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport in an apparent planned attack.
A South Korean court has jailed a North Korean spy reportedly ordered to attack the eldest son of late leader Kim Jong-il, officials say.
The unidentified man, charged with falsely defecting so as to gather information, was jailed for four years.
The man had spent a decade in China tracking down North Korean defectors before coming to the South, the court said.
South Korean media also said he had admitted trying to organise a hit-and-run accident targeting Kim Jong-nam.
The South Korean court said that the 50-year-old man – who has a son who still lives in the North – became a spy after he was threatened by North Korea’s spy agency.
He defected to South Korea this year, citing poverty, but later told investigators that he was a spy.
Local media reports citing prosecutors say the man also admitted he had been told by North Korean authorities to attack Kim Jong-nam.
He reportedly went as far as hiring a taxi driver to run Kim Jong-nam over in 2010, but the plot went no further.
Kim Jong-nam is thought to have fallen out of favor with Kim Jong-il in 2001 after he was caught trying to sneak into Japan using a false passport
Kim Jong-nam is thought to have fallen out of favor with Kim Jong-il in 2001 after he was caught trying to sneak into Japan using a false passport. He told officials that he was planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
Bypassed in favor of his youngest half-brother for succession, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il has maintained a low profile overseas. He was quoted by Japanese media in 2011 as saying he opposed ”dynastic succession”.
He was thought to have been living in Macau but media reports indicate he may have moved to Singapore.
The court said that it had taken the spy’s co-operation into consideration. But it said “stern punishment” was required given the extent to which he could have “greatly compromised the country”.
The court added that he “seriously violated human rights of North Korean defectors”, as he was trying to get them to return to their country.
Kim Han-sol, the grandson of the late Kim Jong-il and nephew of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, has given a rare TV interview from Bosnia, where he is studying.
Kim Han-sol, 17, said that he wished to ”make things better” for the people in his country.
He was speaking to former UN Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn in an interview for Finnish television.
Kim Han-sol is the son of Kim Jong-nam, eldest brother of Kim Jong-un, who has been living in Macau and China.
“I’ve always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people there,” said Kim Han-sol, in fluent English.
Sporting ear-studs, styled hair and a black suit, the teenager spoke of his dreams of reunification of the two Koreas in the televised interview.
Kim Han-sol had South Korean friends, he said, and while it was awkward when he first met them, ”little by little” they started to understand each other.
”Through meeting people, I’ve concluded that I will just take opinions from both sides, see what’s good and what’s bad, and make my own decisions,” he said.
It is not clear why Kim Han-sol agreed to the interview. He first drew international attention in October 2011, when pictures and comments on his Facebook page were reported by South Korean media.
His account was quickly blocked and it was reported that he would be studying at the United World College (UWC) in Mostar.
Kim Han-sol was speaking to former UN Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn in an interview for Finnish television
Elisabeth Rehn is the patron of the UWC initiative in Bosnia. She is also formerly Finland’s Minister of Defence and a UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kim Han-sol said he had never met his grandfather or uncle. He described an isolated childhood spent mostly in Macau and China, after his birth in Pyongyang in 1995.
He only realized who his grandfather was after putting ”pieces of the puzzle” together as he grew up.
”I was actually waiting for him… till before he passed away, hoping he would come find me, because I really didn’t know if he knew that I existed,” he said.
On the succession, Kim Han-sol added that he did not know how his uncle, Kim Jong-un ”became a dictator”.
“It was between him and my grandfather,” he said.
His father, Kim Jong-nam, 39, was thought to have fallen out of favor in 2001 after he was caught trying to sneak into Japan using a false passport. He told officials that he was planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
Kim Jong-nam has maintained a low profile overseas but he was quoted by Japanese TV station Asahi in October 2011 as saying he was opposed to ”dynastic succession”.
“My dad was definitely not really interested in politics,” Kim Han-sol said, when asked why his father was passed over for succession.
As for his own future, he said he pictured himself going to university and then ”volunteering somewhere”.
”I would like to engage in more humanitarian projects… work to contribute to building world peace, especially back home because that is a really important part of me….” he said.
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