North Korean officials threatened the U.S. with "tougher countermeasures" Saturday, following the publication of the State Department's annual report on global human rights, which was highly critical of the country's record.
"The U.S. is dreaming a foolish dream that any 'change' would take place in the DPRK [the acronym for North Korea's official name]," a representative for the country's foreign ministry said, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The country's foreign ministry also accused the report of being a "sinister attempt" to bring down its regime under the pretext of protecting human rights, according to the agency.
A commentary from North Korea's official news agency KCNA said: “The U.S. will see the DPRK's military muscle increasing in every way and its people enjoying a happy life under socialism."
“The world will clearly see how the DPRK will smash the U.S. moves for isolating and stifling it,” the agency added.
The U.S. Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2014, released Thursday, branded North Korea's human rights record "among the worst in the world," in the past year, with public executions, political prison camps, torture and other abuses, the Korea Times reported.
“Defectors continued to report extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, and torture. The judiciary was not independent and did not provide fair trials. Reports continued of severe punishment of some repatriated refugees and their family members,” the report said.
North Korea has often reacted to international criticism, particularly of its human rights record, with fiery rhetoric. The country accused the U.S. and the U.N. of “fabricating” charges of human rights abuses against it last year, after the publication of a damning report led the country to be censured in a U.N. vote.
Other countries have also taken offense at the annual U.S.-issued human rights reports. On Friday, China issued its own report on the state of human rights in the U.S., in a tit-for-tat rebuttal of the U.S. report that was critical of human rights violations in China. The Chinese report said that the U.S. was “haunted by spreading guns and frequent occurrence of violent crimes,” adding that racial discrimination was a "chronic problem."