News / Asia

North Korea Makes First Mention of South's New President

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye speaks to the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, March 4, 2013 file photo.
South Korea's President Park Geun-hye speaks to the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, March 4, 2013 file photo.
North Korea has made its first reference to South Korea's new president, amid escalated tension on the peninsula. Meanwhile, South Korea says the military hotline to the North is still operational, but another communications link remains severed for a third day.

The latest combative vow of retaliation against South Korea and the United States is being attributed to North Korea's armed forces ministry.

A spokesman's statement, read by an announcer during Wednesday radio broadcasts, refers to the new administration of President Park Geun-hye in Seoul as idiots who cannot judge reality and are continuing with the same confrontational polices of her predecessor.

The announcer says "the frenzy being kicked up by the South Korean warmongers is no way irrelevant, with the venomous swish of skirt made by the owner of the presidential office."

President Park was inaugurated February 25.  In official statements and media commentary, North Korea has not mentioned her until now.

North Korea frequently vilified her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, as "the rat-like leader of a pack of traitors."

Professor Yang Moo-jin at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul says Pyongyang seems to have taken care, at this point, not to mention President Park by name.

Yang says the criticism, while elevating the threat level, is indirect to leave an opportunity for direct communication with the South.  He says, if it directly criticizes the South Korean president, any chance of improving inter-Korean relations would be difficult.

North Korea's Leader Visits Coastal Detachment

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island of South Korea, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a long-range artillery sub-unit of the Korean People's Army Unit 641, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds a guitar during his visit to a military unit on the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island, South Korea, March 11, 2013. (KCNA)
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves while in a boat during his visit to the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island of South Korea March 11, 2013. (KCNA)


North Korea says it unilaterally abrogated the 1953 Armistice agreement, effective Monday.

South Korea's government says the military hotline between the two sides is still operational, but the Red Cross communications link across the demilitarized zone at the Panmunjom truce village has been severed since Monday.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex

Operations are also continuing normally at the only Korean joint venture: the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the DMZ.

Fifty-three thousand North Korea laborers are employed there by more than 100 South Korean companies. The complex annually generates an estimated $1 billion in exports to the South from the impoverished and isolated North.

Senior economic researcher Cho Bong-hyun at the Industrial Bank of Korea says, if the 700 managers from the South who go there daily are blocked from entering, that would be an ominous signal from the North.

Cho says anxiety is high among the South Korean company owners and some of them have started to leave, while workers are worried about the complex shutting down. But, he says, all are hoping inter-Korean relations will stabilize for the proper operation of the unique venture.

South conducts military exercises

Just to the south of the DMZ, South Korean marines conducted a drill Wednesday with about 30 tanks. Officials term it a routine exercise and say it was separate from two large U.S.-South Korean joint drills underway.

Military officials in the South say the North's forces may also have commenced their own large-scale exercise, but there has been no confirmation of that.

A cease-fire has been in force on the peninsula since the 1953 truce agreement, but no peace treaty has been signed. The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations, meaning two of the world's largest armies continue to face each other with both sides claiming sovereignty of the entire peninsula.

South Korea and U.S. Hold Military Drill

  • South Korean Army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, March 11, 2013.
  • South Korean Army soldiers work on their K-9 self-propelled artillery vehicles during an exercise near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, March 11, 2013.
  • South Korean Army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, March 11, 2013.
  • South Korean protesters shout slogans during a rally denouncing the annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 11, 2013.
  • A South Korean college student weeps as she reads statements during a press conference denouncing the annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 10, 2013.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid