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(LEAD) N. Korea urges Latin American countries not to sever ties

2017/08/19 16:44

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(ATTN: UPDATES with Pyongyang's criticism of UN chief in last two paras)

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Saturday condemned the United States for asking some Latin American countries to sever diplomatic and trade ties with the North, calling the request a violation of international law.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence openly urged Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Peru to cut off all ties with North Korea during his visit to Santiago, Chile, on Aug. 16, according to wire reports.

Earlier, the United Nations Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on the North over its nuclear and missile programs, aiming to slash Pyongyang's annual export revenues by a third and deprive the regime of the means to support its weapons programs.

A spokesperson of North Korea's foreign ministry told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that the recent U.S. request for Latin American is an intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states and a violation of international law and order.

This undated photo provided by the Associated Press shows U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. (Yonhap) This undated photo provided by the Associated Press shows U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. (Yonhap)

"Such a coercive behavior has exhibited extreme selfishness and arrogance of the United States seeking to gain benefits from sacrificing all other parts of the world," the spokesperson said, answering a question from a KCNA reporter.

The spokesperson then asked the Latin American countries to reject the U.S. demand, saying, "All countries will become victims of U.S. interventions in domestic affairs, if they comply with or tacitly approve the U.S.-sponsored UNSC sanctions."

   The North Korean official added that Pyongyang will further advance its friendly relations with many countries in the world based on the ideology of self-reliance, peace and friendship.

Another unidentified foreign ministry spokesperson also criticized U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for saying that the cause of escalated tension on the Korean Peninsula lies with the North.

"Recently, the U.N. secretary general made an absurd remark that the aggravation of tension on the peninsula was caused by the nuclear and missile development of the DPRK (North Korea). His remark is no more than a revelation of his ignorance on the essence of the nuclear issue. To make it clear, the root cause of the nuclear issue and the vicious cycle of aggravation of situation is the U.S. hostile policy and its nuclear threats against the DPRK," the spokesperson was quoted in English as telling the KCNA.