Death threats are being lobbed from both ends of the Korean peninsula. North Korea has put out a standing order for the execution of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye and her spy chief, Lee Byoung Ho, after a report from a Japanese newspaper claimed that her administration had been plotting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s assassination.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a statement that a “revelation showed” that before her downfall Park had plotted to kill their leader, and that both she and her spy chief were due for a “miserable dog’s death any time, at any place, and by whatever methods from this moment,” according to a translation by ABC News.
Park was ousted in 2015 in the wake of a corruption scandal, and the plot to assassinate the North Korean leader has reportedly not been pursued by the country’s new president, Moon Jae-in, a liberal who campaigned on a platform of seeking peace with his country’s bellicose neighbor.
Extreme claims laced with misogyny are pretty standard in North Korean propaganda. In May, North Korean state media accused the U.S. and South Korea of attempting to kill Kim Jong-un with biochemical weapons. Last year, KCNA called Park an “old insane bitch.” In 2014, they said the U.S. made ebola. And in March, they accused the U.S. and the South of murdering Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, despite evidence putting the blame clearly on Pyongyang.
“We declare at home and abroad that we will impose the death penalty on traitor Park Geun-hye and ex-director of the puppet intelligence service,” the KCNA statement read. “Criminals of hideous state-sponsored terrorism who hatched and pressed for the heinous plot to hurt the supreme leadership of” North Korea.
An official from South Korea’s spy agency told ABC News, on the condition of anonymity, that the reports are untrue.
The threats from the North come as Moon leaves South Korea to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time since both took office. Moon’s taken heat from Trump in recent weeks over his delaying the deployment of the controversial U.S.-built missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which has made many regional powers unhappy, none more so than China.
Trump’s administration has seen little success in their harsh stance on North Korea. Recent reports as well as opaque tweets from Trump himself point to an increasingly exasperated U.S. president. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Trump is weighing sanctions on China, for its perceived inaction over Pyongyang.