After several months of measured engagement with the world, North Korea reverted to its pompous toddler bluster Monday, amid growing uncertainty around next month’s summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Pyongyang lashed out at the South Korea–U.S. military exercises currently underway, as well as the claims in Washington that Trump’s high-pressure tactics forced North Korea to the table.
State-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun published eight articles in Monday’s edition rebuking Trump and his administration, including one poetically entitled: “Boiling the Heart’s Blood with Endless Revenge.”
“Our hearts burn with the blood of endless revenge toward the murderous U.S. imperialist and class enemy man-eaters who enjoy the slaughter of human beings,” the piece mused. “Any illusion about the enemy will lead to death.”
Another claimed: “The U.S. is provoking an arms race. It is using the plausible but fallacious concept of ‘peace through power’ to start a war to dominate the world.”
State-run news agency KCNA chimed in Tuesday, writing that the current detente is a product of “the matchless political savvy and strategic decision of the Supreme Leader of the DPRK, not just a passive response to pressure by someone.”
The criticism comes amid reports that Trump is wavering on the June 12 meeting in Singapore, with The New York Times reporting that Trump is worried the event will turn into a political embarrassment.
Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Monday that it would be “a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play” Trump and that the U.S. president was more than willing to walk away from the negotiating table.
Pence’s comments referenced Kim’s threat last week to pull out of the summit after National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested North Korea could follow a “Libya model” of denuclearisation — something Kim is eager to avoid as it ended with the death of despot Muammar Gaddafi.
The renewed uncertainty comes as North Korea prepares to dismantle its Punggye-ri nuclear test site Wednesday in front of journalists from around the world.
However, no journalists from South Korea will be present after Pyongyang criticized Seoul for the ongoing military exercises.
Also scheduled Wednesday were high-level talks between North and South Korean officials — but these were abruptly canceled by Pyongyang.
Despite the White House faltering on the meeting, it didn’t stop the administration minting a commemorative coin, which features Trump and Kim facing each other bouffants resplendent.
Cover image: This picture released by North Korean news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 1, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering the new year message in Pyongyang. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)