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

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

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 said.

The angry missive comes 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 North Korean statement repeats its 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."

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Despite North Korea's carping about sanctions, an unpublished report by U.N. experts obtained by CBS News claims that North Korea is evading U.N. sanctions to the tune of $200 million over just nine months in 2017.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

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