NKorea hits back at Clinton

SEOUL: North Korea shot back Thursday at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who recently likened the isolated regime to a child demanding attention, calling the diplomat a "primary schoolgirl." Clinton made the comment in an ABC interview broadcast Monday from India, accusing Pyongyang of using its nuclear programme and missile launches to get Washington's attention. She said Washington would not be baited into overreacting to the North's provocations.

"Maybe it's the mother in me, the experience I've had with small children and teenagers and people who are demanding attention: Don't give it to them," she said in the interview.

On Thursday, the North's Foreign Ministry blasted the remark, saying the country is seeking nobody's attention.

The North "has taken necessary measures to protect the nation's sovereignty and right to existence to cope with the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat, not to attract anyone's attention," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community. Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl," it said.

The ministry added: "Anyone making misstatements has to pay for them," but did not elaborate.

North Korea and the U.S. have been locked in a standoff for years over Pyongyang's nuclear programmes.

The North quit international talks on its nuclear programmes in April, conducted its second atomic test in May and launched a series of banned ballistic missiles earlier this month.

A North Korean official attending an Asian security conference in Phuket, Thailand, said Thursday his country will not resume the nuclear talks.