North Korea's new top diplomat has attacked South Korea and the United States over their joint military drills as he made a debut on the international diplomatic stage, Pyongyang's state news agency said Friday.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong also claimed that war drills and other provocative acts by Seoul and Washington reached a point where North Korea could not sit idle, though he did not elaborate on what actions Pyongyang could take.
Ri, who assumed his job in April, made the comments as he delivered a speech at a foreign ministers' meeting of the Nonaligned Movement in Algeria on Wednesday, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea has frequently denounced South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises as a rehearsal for invasion. Seoul and Washington say their annual exercises are defensive in nature.
In March, North Korea fired short-range missiles and rockets into the sea off its eastern coast in apparent anger over the annual South Korea-U.S. military drills.
Ri also lashed out at the U.S. and other Western powers for attacking North Korea over its human rights record, claiming their move is designed to topple the North's social system.
North Korea has long been accused of grave human rights abuses ranging from holding hundreds of thousands of political prisoners in concentration camps to committing torture and carrying out public executions.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry has recently said that "systematic, widespread and gross human-rights violations have been and are being committed by" the leadership in Pyongyang.
North Korea has denounced the report as a fabrication, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to undermine its political system. (Yonhap)