North Korea says US `hell-bent on regime change'

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North Korea says US `hell-bent on regime change'
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Ri Tong Il, calls on a member of the media during his news conference at United Nations headquarters, Monday, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Ri Tong Il, responds to a question during his news conference at United Nations headquarters, Monday, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Ri Tong Il, is surrounded by the media after his news conference at United Nations headquarters, Monday, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Ri Tong-il, Deputy permanent representative of North Korea to the United Nations, answers questions from reporters at a news conference on March 24, 2014 in New York City. Ri accused the United States of unnecessarily provoking conflict with military excercises, among other claims. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Ri Tong-il, Deputy permanent representative of North Korea to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference on March 24, 2014 in New York City. Ri accused the United States of unnecessarily provoking conflict with military excercises, among other claims. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Ri Tong Il (C), spokeman for North Korean Foreign Minister Park Ui Chun's delegation (not in picture) is interviewed at the main venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Hanoi on July 22, 2010. Strained US-China military relations will be the elephant in the room as Asia's largest security forum meets in Vietnam on July 23 amid tensions over North Korea, Taiwan and the South China Sea. AFP PHOTO / POOL / HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Ri Tong-il, Deputy permanent representative of North Korea to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference at the United Nations while wearing a pin depicting North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung (L), and Kim's son and second supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, on March 24, 2014 in New York City. Ri accused the United States of unnecessarily provoking conflict with military excercises, among other claims. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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By CARA ANNA
Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- North Korea on Friday accused the United States of being "hell-bent on regime change" and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a "red line" that will result in countermeasures.

Pyongyang's deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong Il also repeated that his government "made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test" but refused to elaborate, saying only that "I recommend you to wait and see what it is."

His comments came at North Korea's second press conference at the United Nations in two weeks, a surprising rate for the reclusive Communist regime.

Ri blamed the U.S. for aggravating tensions on the Korean Peninsula by continuing "very dangerous" military drills with South Korea, by pursuing action in the U.N. Security Council against his country's recent ballistic missile launches and by going after Pyongyang's human rights performance.

Ri also accused the U.S. of blocking a resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear program by settling preconditions and said Washington's primary goal is to maintain tensions and prevent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

A U.S. diplomat who was not authorized to comment publicly later responded: "We have long made clear - in close consultation with our allies - that we are open to improved relations with the DPRK if it is willing to take clear actions to live up to its international obligations and commitments."

North Korea walked away from the six-party nuclear disarmament talks in 2009 over disagreements on how to verify steps the North was meant to take to end its nuclear programs. The U.S. and its allies are demanding that the North demonstrate its sincerity in ending its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

Since pulling out of the six-party talks, the North has conducted a long-range rocket test, its second-ever nuclear test, and most recently short-range rockets launches.

Using the initials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name, Ri said, "The DPRK has been making strenuous, hard efforts, very generous, toward easing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but ignoring all this generous position of the DPRK and its proposals, the U.S. went ahead with opening the joint military drills, very aggressive nature, and they're now expanding in a crazy manner the scale of this exercise."

He also rejected as "illegal" a Security Council statement last week that condemned North Korea's test-firing of two medium-range ballistic missiles as violations of council resolutions.

The deputy ambassador did not answer questions on detained American Kenneth Bae or on his country's drone program, which it has been promoting recently. South Korean experts this week claimed that two small, camera-equipped drones had been flown across the border by the North, calling them crude and decidedly low-tech. Both drones crashed in South Korea.

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Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed.

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