SEOUL — South Korea is lashing back at North Korea for comments made about South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
The statement issued by the North's National Defense Commission (NDC) contained a rare attack on South Korea's president by name.
The NDC railed against the Park government's suggestion that Pyongyang was pressured into making recent improvements in inter-Korean relations out of economic and political need.
A news reader on Korean Central Television read the NDC statement, calling the government “ignorant hooligans hell-bent on hurting the dignity” of North Korea's leaders.
The news reader went on to say the army and people of North Korea already warned the puppet south Korean authorities several times that they should stop anachronistic remarks against fellow countrymen. She added they should work for peace and reunification of the country if they do not want to see the north-south ties deteriorating as during the past five years.
In an unscheduled briefing late Friday, South Korea's Ministry of Unification called the remarks very regrettable. Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said the verbal attack harmed efforts to build trust between the two Koreas.
Kim also said North Korea must understand that its ignorance of [South Korea] and the international community’s appropriate request, and continuation of menacing speech and action, will intensify its isolation.
The North's military body also singled out comments Park made Tuesday at a massive military parade.
Park said that, through South Korea's defense alliance with the United States and advancements in missile defense, she would make Pyongyang realize its nuclear power and missiles are useless.
The North Korean statement said Pyongyang could never be forced to give up its nuclear weapons, which it called the key to peace on the Korean peninsula and world-wide denuclearization.
The North Korean television announcer said if Park and her group conspire with outsiders, under the pretext of leading North Korea to change, if they recklessly try to bring down the North's social system and force it to dismantle its nuclear weapons, it will be little short of digging their own graves.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim said Pyongyang's massive spending on nuclear and missile development was not helping its people when so many are suffering from chronic malnutrition.
Relations between the two Koreas had been improving after months of military tensions over Pyongyang's February nuclear test and threats to attack.
The two sides agreed in August to reopen their joint industrial zone in Kaesong and resume reunions of families divided since the Korean War.
Although the border factory park is progressing, North Korea postponed the reunions at the last minute citing Seoul's “hostile intentions” and joint U.S. military drills.
VOA's Youmi Kim contributed to this report.