NK slams US for raising 'non-existent' issue of human trafficking
North Korea has accused the United States of slandering Pyongyang over what it claims is non-existent human trafficking.
Human trafficking "does not exist" in the North "where everybody is equal and the people's true democratic rights and freedom … are legally guaranteed," the North's Foreign Ministry spokesman said late Monday in an English-language statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
The statement came days after the U.S. State Department ranked North Korea as one of the countries with the poorest record of fighting human trafficking.
North Korea is a "source country for men, women and children who are subject to forced labor, forced marriage and sex trafficking," the State Department said last week in its annual Trafficking in Persons report.
The North's statement dismissed the U.S. report as "lies and fabrications" and claimed that the U.S. is the kingpin of human trafficking in the world.
The North's Foreign Ministry also said that the U.S. move proves that Washington remains unchanged in its hostile intention to isolate and stifle North Korea.
The ministry warned that the U.S. hostile policy would eventually make North Korea bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense, referring to its nuclear arsenal.
In a separate statement on Monday, the North's ministry vowed that the North will further strengthen its nuclear deterrent as it denounced the U.S. for firing at the North Korean flag during a recent South Korea-U.S. joint live-fire drill.
In March, U.S. President Barack Obama said that Washington has no hostile intent toward North Korea. (Yonhap)