NK’s War of Words Rolls On
After almost a month of silence, the Rodong Shinmun–mouthpiece of the (North) Korean Workers Party—has rolled out its standard anti-imperialist invectives for Lee Myung Bak. Among its choice epithets for Lee were “sycophant towards the United States,” “anti-North confrontation advocator,” and “traitor Lee Myung-bak.” The unsigned commentary also warned that Lee would be responsible for regressing inter-Korean relations:
“The Lee regime will be held fully accountable for the irrevocable catastrophic consequences to be entailed by the freezing of the inter-Korean relations and the disturbance of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula (Korea Times)”
Blustery rhetoric and hyperbole is to be expected from the Rodong Shinmun, so it’s important to take the actual contents of this commentary with a grain of salt. Trying to discern the North’s actual intent—whether this is just empty posturing, a cry for help, or something deeper—is more difficult.
Back in Washington, the State Department made an official statement regarding the sudden downturn in inter-Korean relations. State Department Spokesman Tom Casey told reporters “that some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen is necessarily helpful (Korea Times).” The U.S. has made quite clear what it expects of North Korea: a full and complete declaration. North Korea has balked at providing an adequate declaration that includes details of a highly-enriched uranium program.
“I think [the North Koreans] are still very interested in trying to get through the declaration,” Christopher Hill told reporters at the beginning of a 9-day swing through Asia. Hill still remains optimistic about a resolution in the near future. “I think tempers are getting shorter. Patience is certainly getting frayed…When and if we meet, whenever it comes, it has to be a meeting in which we really can finally resolve it.” Most significantly, Hill, who believes we are in the final stages of a resolution of North Korea’s nuclear issue, believes differences between the six parties are “getting smaller (Korea Times)”
Hill will not travel to Pyongyang, but State had no comment when asked whether Hill would meet with North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Gye Gwan in a third country (Yonhap).