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SEOUL: North Korea took its first official swipe at South Korea’s new president yesterday, employing a phrase to paint Park Geun-Hye as overbearing and manipulative.
A statement attributed to a spokesman of the Armed Forces Ministry said South Korean officials were engaging in a round of “warmongering” orchestrated by the “poisonous swish” of the president’s skirt.
The statement did not use Park’s name or title, referring to her only as the current “owner” of the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
“Swish of the skirt” (or “chima baram”) is a common Korean term used to criticise women seen as overly bossy or domineering.
It also slammed Park’s comments that the North’s obsession with nuclear weapons would bring about its own collapse as “utter ignorance”.
A military hotline between North and South Korea is operating, a South official said after Pyongyang cut the Red Cross hotline, in protest against the launch of a South Korea-US military exercise. “The military communication is working normally and we will seek to convey any message to the North via the channel when necessary,” the official said.
Meanwhile, a report said North Korean jet fighters had flown an “unprecedented” number of sorties in recent days in apparent response to the drill.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said there were signs that China was recalculating its policy towards North Korea out of frustration at leader Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear brinkmanship.
In an interview with ABC News aired yestereday, Obama said that the latest alarming threats from Pyongyang following its third nuclear test were also not necessarily more dangerous than others in its long history of belligerence.
Obama said it was “promising” that China, which had historically tolerated “misbehaviour” by the North Koreans because it was worried about regime collapse, was changing its thinking.
“You’re starting to see them recalculate and say, ‘You know what? This is starting to get out of hand’,” he said, although he did not give examples of a modified attitude from Beijing.
Obama said North Korea’s latest behaviour was not “necessarily” an alarming evolution in its behaviour from its previous provocations towards the US its Asian allies. “They’ve all been serious. Because when you’re talking about a regime that is oppressive towards its people, is belligerent, has shown itself to sometimes miscalculate and do things that are very dangerous — that’s always a problem.” AFP