North Korea warned Saturday the US will "pay dearly" if it puts Pyongyang on a terror list over the killing of its leader's half-brother, as a suspect in the murder claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy.
Kim Jong-Nam, 45, was poisoned in Malaysia last month with VX, a nerve agent so deadly that it is classed as a weapon of mass destruction.
The dramatic killing at Kuala Lumpur airport prompted an international probe, lurid stories of North Korea's Cold War-style tradecraft and a bitter war of words between Malaysia and Pyongyang.
South Korean and Japanese media, citing diplomatic sources, have since reported that the US has been mulling placing the North back on its terror list, which includes Iran and Syria.
"The US will keenly realise how dearly it has to pay for its groundless accusations against the dignified" North if it puts it back on the terror list, the regime's foreign ministry spokesman told state-run newswire KCNA.