North Korea slams UN nuclear agency as US mouthpiece

FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flutters on top of the 160-metre tall tower at North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong, in this picture taken from Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea on Monday denounced the U.N. atomic watchdog for joining a U.S.-led pressure campaign and "cooking up" a resolution over its nuclear programmes, calling the agency a "paid trumpeter" for Washington.

An unnamed spokesman of Pyongyang's Ministry of Nuclear Power Industry released a statement criticising a resolution adopted on Friday at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference that calls for the North to curb its nuclear programmes.

The spokesman described the resolution as a "result of conspiracy" by the United States and its allies, saying North Korea's status as a nuclear weapons state has already become "irreversible."

"Such farce of the hostile forces is a revelation of their sinister intention to cover up their criminal acts of seriously threatening the international nuclear non-proliferation system and justify their hostile policy toward the DPRK," he said, according to state media KCNA.

DPRK refers to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The spokesman also accused IAEA chief Rafael Grossi of "taking the lead in creating the atmosphere of pressurising the DPRK" by "spreading a false story" about an imminent nuclear test.

Grossi warned last year that the reclusive country could resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

"If the IAEA wants to avoid international criticism as a paid trumpeter of the U.S., it would be well advised to devote itself to tackling the difficulties facing the international community," the spokesman said, referring to what it calls U.S. nuclear proliferation and Japan's discharge of wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The IAEA has had no access to North Korea since Pyongyang expelled its inspectors in 2009 and then restarted nuclear testing.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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