SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea on Thursday (Sept 24) offered its verdict on the migrant emergency facing Europe, blaming the "evil empire" United States for triggering the continent's worst refugee crisis since World War II.
In a lengthy screed denouncing "intolerable" criticism of Pyongyang's human rights record, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman argued that Washington should be the real focus of censure.
"The US is an evil empire... committing all sorts of human rights abuses," the spokesman said in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.
As an example, the spokesman cited the plight of the hundreds of thousands of migrants from war zones like Syria and Afghanistan who are seeking shelter in European countries.
"It is the US which caused the serious refugee issue sweeping the whole of Europe," he said.
"As the US started wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other parts of the world, and fostered civil wars under the pretexts of 'war on terrorism' and establishment of 'democracy,' refugees have been on a sharp increase," he added.
North Korea, by contrast was a "cradle of happy life", the spokesman said.
The statement was a response to a recent discussion of North Korean rights violations at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
A report published last year by a special UN commission accused North Korea of committing human rights violations "without parallel in the contemporary world".