SEOUL (AFP) - Condemned at the United Nations for rights abuses, North Korea hit back on Friday, describing the United States as a human rights "tundra" where racial discrimination flourishes.
Citing the protests that erupted when a police officer was not charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, a Foreign Ministry spokesman heaped scorn on the notion of "rule of law" in the US.
"This is clear proof of the real picture of the US as a tundra of human rights, where extreme racial discrimination acts are openly practised," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the North's official KCNA news agency.
His remarks came a week after the UN adopted a landmark resolution urging the Security Council to refer North Korea's leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible indictment on crimes against humanity.
The resolution, drafted by Japan and the European Union, drew heavily on the work of a UN inquiry, which concluded in February that the North was committing rights abuses "without parallel in the contemporary world".
Pyongyang has rejected the inquiry and condemned the resolution, saying both were initiated and controlled by the US in a politically motivated effort to humiliate the regime of leader Kim Jong Un.
"The great irony is that the US tries to measure other countries with its wrong human rights standard, though it is a typical human rights abuser," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
His statement specifically criticised US President Barack Obama for his efforts to "justify" racial discrimination by talking about the rule of law.
Although China and Russia would block any Security Council move to refer Pyongyang to the ICC, North Korea has been rattled by the adoption of the strongly worded UN resolution, and has threatened "catastrophic consequences" for its supporters.
Earlier this week, Mr Kim Jong Un toured a museum dedicated to alleged atrocities by US forces during the 1950-1953 Korean War, saying they were like "cannibals seeking pleasure in slaughter".