N.Korea Goes Back to Name-Calling

      November 25, 2009 11:11

      The North Korean media have returned to abusive language in talking about South Korea after a brief interim that saw unusually polite terminology. The charm offensive started when a delegation attended the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung and met with President Lee Myung-bak in late August, but now the South is once again being called a "puppet" state under a "traitor" government.

      In a commentary on Tuesday, the Minju Chosun, the organ of the North Korean Cabinet, complained about Seoul's support for a UN resolution on human rights in the North. "The 'human rights' racket of these puppets is an expression of their ignorance of our republic," it thundered. "The puppets are an anti-reunification group of traitors harboring deep-rooted feelings of hostility."

      The paper used the word "puppet" no fewer than 11 times plus one "puppet authorities." The previous day, the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the North Korean Workers' Party, also wrote, "We'll never tolerate puppets' anti-reunification confrontational maneuvers."

      So far, North Korea has not returned to personal abuse of the South Korean president. Prof. Lee Jo-won of ChungAng University said, "Having taken a conciliatory attitude toward the South since August, the North recently seems very displeased with our government."

      The trouble became evident when Pyongyang ignored Seoul's offer of 10,000 tons of corn over the past month, apparently because it fell short of its demands. The North also bypassed official channels when it proposed inter-Korean governmental talks about the resumption of package tours to Mt. Kumgang by going through tour operator Hyundai Asan.

      One security official said given imminent North Korea-U.S. talks and the food shortage, the North "will find it difficult to take as confrontational an attitude as it did in the first half of this year. But it's true that there is less room for our government to move until the bilateral talks produce results."

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