From Presidential statements to Repatriation: Pyongyang media slams the South
The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official party newspaper, slammed the Moon Jae-in administration’s recent praise of its own success at making the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade possible in April, and the unprecedented summit between North Korea and the United States.
However, even though North Korean state media has a history of ridiculing and dismissing South Korea as a puppet of the United States, there has been a notable refrainment from criticism, especially after this year’s transformation in foreign policy.
The Rodong Sinmun in a commentary was quoted to have said: “It’s a self-exalting, farfetched allusion and vain kibitzing without realizing their own circumstances.” While Moon’s name was not taken, but there was an implication on the South Korean President’s comments during his visit to Singapore the previous week, where he said that the DPRK and United States would face “stern judgement” from the rest of the world if the promises they made in public were not kept.
These remarks were in the context of the agreement between North Korea and the United States towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. However, in terms of reality, there has not been any concrete action taken towards fulfilling these promises.
Yet the North Korean statement showed disapproval of Moon Jae-in’s comments as they felt the Kim Jong Un administration was already taking steps towards their Singapore Agreement and the remarks of the South Korean President lacked reality.
Various analysts have sensed the North Korean statement as a strategy to weaken ties between South Korea and the United States, by deliberately trying to portray the South as a puppet of United States wishes. Shin Beom-Chul from the Asian Institute for Policy Studies felt the statement was also in a way an effort to show the North’s dominance in foreign policy and cross-border relations.
In what seemed another attack regarding an issue from 2016, Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean propaganda website, attacked the Moon administration and urged it to repatriate a dozen North Korean restaurant workers who went to the South in 2016. South Korean officials didn’t release a comment but highlighted the reunion of the said families were agreed upon by Moon and Kim in the April meeting.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti