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Egyptian investor in North Korea says it's best not to issue threats or you could look stupid

  • "If you threaten and you don't act you really look stupid, so it's best not to," Sawiris said in an exclusive interview
  • "As an investor, I obey by all UN resolutions making sure we're not violating any sanctions, any rules," Sawiris said

The war of words between North Korea and the United States could make them look "stupid," Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris told CNBC exclusively on Thursday.

Sawiris, who owns a telecom company in North Korea, told CNBC that wars are not won with rhetoric.

"If you threaten and you don't act you really look stupid, so it's best not to," Sawiris said in an exclusive interview.

In the latest row between North Korea and the United States, Pyongyang threatened Thursday to sink Japan and said the U.S. should be "beaten to death like a rabid dog."

The comments followed fresh sanctions from the United Nations on North Korea, which were approved by consensus earlier this week. This is now the ninth sanctions package that the UN security council has approved since 2006 for North Korea's missile tests.

Investments aren't politics

Sawiris founder of Orascom Telecom, an Egyptian telecoms firm, has the only operating license in North Korea. He told CNBC that his investments in North Korea were of about $250 million but that these have nothing to do with politics and that Egyptian businesses with North Korea are old, "it's a historic thing," he said.

"I believed I've extended a good service to the innocent people of North Korea who are deprived from seeing their parents who live miles away or can't call their children when they come back from school," he said.

"They're allowed to have the simplest services that everybody in the west has. It has nothing to do with politics," he explained.

"As an investor, I obey by all UN resolutions making sure we're not violating any sanctions, any rules," Sawiris said.