The North Korean ruling party’s mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun published a seething commentary condemning President Donald Trump and the speech he gave to the South Korean parliament last week.
Trump was given the opportunity to address the National Assembly in Seoul as part of his state visit to Seoul, the first American president to give a speech to lawmakers since Bill Clinton in 1993.
In his speech, Trump congratulated South Korea’s progress since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, highlighting the differences in living standards between the two Koreas and personally addressed dictator Kim Jong Un, calling North Korea “hell” and urging him to give up his weapons.
The state-controlled North Korean media took a week to react to the president’s words, but the commentary published Wednesday both addressed Trump’s speech and reiterated some key points of the North Korean rhetoric. It repeated the idea that North Koreans won’t cower in front of a “rabid dog’s barking” and that Trump’s hostility represents a “declaration of war.”
According to the commentary, Trump committed four capital offenses in criticizing Kim’s leadership, North Korea’s society, lifestyle and history—North Korea contests the events sparking the Korean War, claiming it was invaded rather than being the invading force.
“Trump, who is no more than an old slave of money, dared point an accusing finger at the sun. He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people,” the commentary read.
“He will be forced to pay dearly for his blasphemy any moment,” it continued, “The one who violated the dignity of the people and insulted them should never expect their pardon.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 15.
For all the fiery rhetoric and protests to the U.N., North Korea has refrained from launching missiles or testing nuclear devices for the past two months, the most recent provocation occurring on September 15, when it sent an intermediate range ballistic missile Hwasong-12 over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before crashing into the Pacific.
Taking a break from visiting military-related facilities, Kim’s latest public outings have focused on the country’s economy, visiting factories, fruit orchards and even driving a tractor in a bid to counter reports of food shortages in the country.
The hiatus comes as China prepares to send a special envoy to North Korea and South Korea co-hosts a U.N. disarmament and nonproliferation conference.
Arriving in Seoul on Tuesday, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Joseph Yun told the local press he was not sure whether North Korea’s break from nuclear testing would last, but he thought it was a “good start.”
“We don’t know because they have not communicated with us that they will stop doing that. I don’t know why,” Yun said, quoted in South Korean news agency Yonhap, “(But) I hope it stays that way.”