Seoul — In its latest personal attack on a prominent official from a rival country, North Korea yesterday called US Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous lantern jaw”.
North Korea has unleashed a slew of crude insults against leaders in Washington and Seoul this year, calling President Barack Obama a monkey and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute.
Yesterday’s slur against Kerry appeared only in a Korean-language dispatch, suggesting it was meant to rally anti-US sentiment and burnish the leadership’s image domestically at a time when Washington and Seoul are conducting annual military drills that Pyongyang calls an invasion rehearsal.
An unidentified policy department spokesperson at the North Korean defence commission, led by leader Kim Jong Un, described Kerry as a “wolf donning the mask of sheep”.
The spokesperson criticized Kerry for recently saying Washington wants to see peace on the Korean Peninsula although the US and South Korea then went ahead with their summertime drills that North Korea has demanded be scrapped. The US and South Korea say the drills are defensive in nature.
The North Korean spokesperson also criticised Kerry’s comments on North Korea’s human rights record and weapons programmes.
“His behaviour fully revealed once again the US inveterate nature as a hypocrite who has deceived and mocked mankind with all sorts of gimmicks,” the spokesperson said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korean and US officials often criticise the North’s invectives but stop short of similar rhetoric against North Korean leaders. But conservative activists in South Korea frequently use images depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a pig in anti-Pyongyang rallies.
Tension on the Korean Peninsula remains high as North Korea has conducted an unusually large number of missile and artillery test firings this year.
Meanwhile, North Korea fired three short-range rockets off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea’s Ministry of Defence said, shortly before Pope Francis arrived in Seoul on his first visit to Asia.
The rockets were fired from multiple launchers in the North Korean port city of Wonsan and travelled 220km before landing in waters east of the Korean peninsula, a defence ministry official said.
The last rocket was fired 35 minutes before Pope Francis was due to arrive at an air base in Seoul, where the pontiff started a five-day visit to South Korea.
The launches came ahead of US-South Korean military exercises scheduled to start on Monday. Seoul and Washington say the exercises are defensive in nature but North Korea regularly protests against the drills, which it sees as a rehearsal for war. — AFP