North Korea hasn’t had much to say publicly about President Trump’s 12-day Asia tour, including his tough criticism of the communist country during a speech to South Korea’s national legislature.
That changed Saturday.
A spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry published a lengthy and incendiary commentary, condemning Trump for a “warmonger’s visit” with the goal of ending the nation’s effort to create a “self-defensive” nuclear weapons program.
“It is also nothing but a business trip by a warmonger to enrich the monopolies of the U.S. defense industry by milking the moneybags from its subordinate ‘allies,’” read the commentary, published in state media.
The statement, which called the country’s nuclear program “righteous and inevitable,” continued: “He boasted about the ‘overwhelming superiority of U.S. power’ and ‘peace through strength.’ But he needs to be well advised that it is the stand of the DPRK to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development by keeping a real balance of force with the U.S.”
It comes days after Trump left Seoul, where he offered a lengthy, detailed critique of North Korea’s human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions.
During the 30-minute speech before the National Assembly on Wednesday, Trump called the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, a “tyrant,” and contrasted the North’s community with an economic “miracle” in South Korea.
“The Korean miracle extends exactly as far as the armies of free nations advanced in 1953 — 24 miles to the north,” Trump said. “There, it stops; it all comes to an end. Dead stop. The flourishing ends, and the prison state of North Korea sadly begins.”
The harsh response from North Korea also comes during a period of relative quiet by Kim’s regime following its most recent nuclear test in September. That month it also test-launched a missile over Japan, sparking concern worldwide.
The North’s actions have also prompted international condemnation — a reaction to the dozens of ballistic missile tests in recent years, including its effort to develop an intercontinental device capable of reaching the United States mainland.
Stiles is a special correspondent.