North Korea has accused China, its only international ally, of giving in to American demands.
Last week, China announced a ban on coal imports during 2017, in response to North Korea’s continuing ballistic missile tests.
The Pyongyang statement did not name China, but referred to a “neighboring country” which “often claims” to be friendly.
“This country, styling itself a big power, is dancing to the tune of the US,” the state-run KCNA news agency said.
In a direct reference to the ban on imports, the Pyongyang statement said China had “taken inhumane steps such as totally blocking foreign trade”, which would help its enemies “to bring down the social system” in North Korea.
North Korea relies on the coal trade with China for cash income.
Although China backs North Korea, alone among the international community, it has been a critic of its nuclear program, and has backed UN sanctions against it.
China’s ban on coal imports came a week after North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
The following day, Chinese media reported that a coal shipment from North Korea worth $1 million had been stopped at Wenzhou port, on China’s eastern coast, before the ban was officially announced a few days later.
North Korea claims to have advanced nuclear capabilities that have never been verified. The country said it created a nuclear weapon in just a few years without any external aid.
If North Korea successfully created a fully functional inter-continental ballistic missile, it could conceivably threaten the US – about 5,500 miles away – as well as closer neighbors.
Howver, the government remains defiant in the face of international pressure.
“It is utterly childish to think that [North Korea] would not manufacture nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic rockets if a few [pennies] of money is cut off,” it said in its statement.
The words “dancing to the tune of the US” may refer to President Donald Trump’s remarks, before taking office, that China should bring North Korea “under control”.
Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox and Friends on January 4: “China has… total control over North Korea.
“And China should solve that problem. And if they don’t solve the problem, we should make trade very difficult for China.”
The rebuke of its only ally is the second verbal attack on another nation by North Korea on the same day.
Earlier, the secretive country appeared to blame Malaysia for the death of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, and said the country was attempting to politicize the return of his body.
Kim Jong-nam died after being poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport in an apparent planned attack.