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“An ignorant and incompetent group”: North Korea’s insult machine is back to form

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during The first enlarged meeting of the seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang May 18, 2018.
KCNA/via Reuters
Sharpest tongue in North Korea.
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Last year, North Korea grabbed attention not only for the missiles it lobbed, but also the insults. Who could forget Kim Jong Un calling Donald Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard”? For most of this year, the Kim regime, which has been on a diplomatic blitz, has refrained from invective, but this week it returned to form with a vengeance.

Yesterday, the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Ri Son Gwon, a top North Korean official, called South Korean authorities “an ignorant and incompetent group devoid of the elementary sense of the present situation.” His comments followed Pyongyang abruptly canceling high-level talks between the two sides slated for Wednesday (May 16) due to US-South Korea joint military drills, which Ri described as a ”rude and wicked provocation.”

Also on Wednesday, KCNA released a scathing report in which it made clear North Korea’s dislike of Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton. ”We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” the report read. (As a State Department official in the early 2000s, Bolton played a key role in steering the Bush administration away from engagement with North Korea and toward classifying it as part of the “Axis of Evil.”)

Bolton has suggested the “Libya model” of denuclearization could be applied to North Korea, whereby the Kim regime would relinquish all of its nuclear weapons before it receives economic help and other benefits. The KCNA report called it a “ridiculous comedy” to see the Trump administration sticking to outdated views of North Korea, which it noted is already a nuclear state.

Earlier this week the Kim regime also criticized the US taking issue with North Korea’s human rights record, saying in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper that doing so was “extremely rude” for a dialog partner. KCNA also called Japan “mean and foolish” for bringing up the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago, saying it was an attempt to “stem the trend of peace on the Korean peninsula.”

While the North Korea insult machine kicked back into high gear this week, it has a ways to go to match last year’s work. After Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in his first address to the United Nations last summer, Kim, in addition to rolling out “dotard” and sending many to their dictionaries, compared Trump to a “frightened dog” and suggested he was a “political layman.”

On July 4, Pyongyang said a long-range missile launch was a “gift for the American bastards” celebrating their Independence Day.

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