N. Korea threatens 'toughest' action over rights offensive

N. Korea threatens 'toughest' action over rights offensive
Military personnel march during an event at the plaza of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun marking the 61st anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War taken on July 27, 2014

SEOUL - North Korea has accused the US of trying to topple the hermit state by targeting it with allegations of human rights abuses, and threatened to hit back with the "toughest-ever counteraction".

The comments in state media Monday came as the UN Security Council is due to meet next week to discuss North Korea's rights record, amid calls for Pyongyang to be referred to the international court for crimes against humanity.

But after CIA torture revelations last week, North Korea hit back, slamming the US for committing "the gravest human rights violations in the world" and carrying out "brutal medieval forms" of torture.

"The United States is dreaming of a pipe dream to topple our regime through 'human rights issues'," a foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

"The US will have to experience the toughest-ever counteraction against its hostile policy against the DPRK (North Korea)," he said, without elaborating.

North Korea has written to the Security Council requesting a commission be set up to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the CIA abuses.

Its attempts at retaliation are part of an outraged response to a UN inquiry released in February that argued Pyongyang's rights violations pose a threat to international peace and security.

The year-long inquiry heard testimony from North Korean exiles and documented a vast network of harsh prison camps holding up to 120,000 people along with cases of torture, summary executions and rape.

Separately, the North Korean spokesman also said the United States would bear responsiblity for "the breakdown of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

"As the United States adheres to its plot to overturn our system by every means available, the commitment to denuclearising the Korean peninsular will lose its meaning completely," he said.

"As the DPRK-US war over human rights is now underway, any dialogue on the nuclear issue losess all its meaning."

Sung Kim, the chief US envoy for North Korea, said Friday that Pyongyang is proceeding with its nuclear programme and showing no clear sign of steps that would permit the resumption of international talks on ending it.

However, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said last week recent satellite images suggested North Korea was unlikely to follow through on a threatened nuclear test anytime soon.

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