Watch CBS News

North Korea slams U.N. sanctions days after attempted Olympics charm offensive

Kim Jong Un invites Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang
Kim Jong Un invites South Korea's president to Pyongyang 01:46

UNITED NATIONS -- After a fleeting thawing of tensions between North and South Korea at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, North Korea's U.N. mission on Monday lashed out against what it called "despicable" and "criminal" U.N. sanctions enacted with the intention "of suffocating" individuals' livelihood and public health.

"This clearly proves that the U.N. Security Council, overpowered by high-handedness and arbitrariness of the U.S., has only turned into the tool of infringement upon people's right and barbarous state sponsored terrorism," a statement obtained by CBS News on Monday said.

Hours later, on Monday evening the mission issued another missive deploying more offensive language. 

The new statement criticized President Trump for inviting defector Ji Seong-ho to the State of the Union address, calling the Ji "human scum." The North also slammed Vice President Mike Pence for inviting the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died days after his release from detention, to the Olympics.  

The North Korean statement made a point of criticizing U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley for her critique of a U.N. committee that rejected non-government status to the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

The statement concluded with an ominous threat: "Before it is too late, the U.S. has to recognize the world recognized prestige of the DPRK which rapidly emerged as a strategic state."

The missives come after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho called on the U.N. chief ahead of the Pyeongchang games to recognize the North's "positive developments" in its relations with Seoul and accused the U.S. of "throwing a wet blanket over our efforts."

The earlier North Korean statement repeated the country's January call for an international forum of legal experts to assess whether or not the sanctions against Pyongyang are legal under international law. 

"Such illegal 'sanctions resolutions' [hinder] and threaten exercise of human rights of our people," the North Korean statement says.

At the December passage of the latest round of North Korea sanctions, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said, "For the tenth time, this Council stands united against a North Korean regime that rejects the pursuit of peace." Pence announced a new round of U.S. sanctions ahead of his trip to Pyeongchang.

Despite North Korea's carping about sanctions, an unpublished report by U.N. experts obtained by CBS News claims that North Korea is evading U.N. sanctions to the tune of $200 million over just nine months in 2017.

At the Olympics, North Korea displayed an ability to appear cordial with its neighbor to the South, but the lambast by the country's U.N. mission illustrates underlying tensions that remain.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.