Propaganda wars: Why North Korea's insults are getting uglier

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- North Korea's description of South Korea's president as an "old, insane bitch" destined for violent death may take the rivals' hateful propaganda battle to a new level of hostility, which is saying something for neighbours with such a long, bloody history of hating each other's guts.

See Full Article

The North called President Park Geun-hye's predecessors traitors and even rat-like, but the invectives it throws at the South's first female president tend to be uglier, often casting her relationship with her American allies in crude sexual terms.

Carved in two by the Soviets and Americans at the end of the Second World War, the halves of the Korean Peninsula fought a vicious war in the early 1950s, and have spent much of the years since then promising, and sometimes trying very hard to engineer, each other's destruction.

North Korea, even as it builds a nuclear arsenal, has in recent decades been outgunned diplomatically, economically and militarily by the richer South; it has therefore relied more on words as a weapon. It has been especially likely to do so under conservative South Korean leaders such as Park and her immediate predecessor, Lee Myung-bak; before Lee took office in 2008, nearly a decade of liberal leaders pushed for co-operation with Pyongyang and sent huge shipments of aid northwards.

The North's attacks may be meant to "reduce hopes for unification, which the North Korean elite really doesn't want, because there's no way they'd keep their privileges on the other side," says Robert Kelly, a political scientist at Pusan National University in the South.

North Korea's overwhelmingly male-dominated culture may have something to do with it as well. Kelly says Pyongyang may not understand that sexist language disgusts many.

Brian Myers, an expert on North Korean propaganda at South Korea's Dongseo University, suggests that young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may either not remember or not care that his country once carefully tailored its propaganda to influence millions of potential leftist sympathizers in the South.

Myers says that could be bad news for the near future. If it becomes impossible for a South Korean party devoted to accommodation to come to power in Seoul, he says, "I'm afraid we could see the North shift more and more toward outright bullying and intimidation."

Here's a look at North Korea's long history of insults:

"MURDEROUS DEMON"

In perhaps its lengthiest and harshest verbal attack on Park since she took office in 2013, the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday called her a "tailless, old, insane bitch," a "senile old woman" and a "murderous demon" destined to meet "a sudden and violent death."

This was likely a response to her reaction to the North's recent nuclear test and rocket launch. She closed a jointly run factory park, started missile defence talks with Washington and mentioned the potential for a "regime collapse" in Pyongyang, something North Korea's dictator is extremely sensitive about.

KCNA wrote that Park complains about North Korean nukes, but "takes much pleasure and even throws out her underwear in welcoming the murderous nuclear war devices brought in by the American Yankees."

North Korea previously called Park a "prostitute" and said she lives on the "groin of her American boss." It has frequently questioned her womanhood because she has no children, which the North labels as an "obligation" for women. North Korea also frequently refers to the "swish of her skirts," a Korean phrase used to describe women seen as overly aggressive.

"The swishes of Park Geun-hye's skirt, created by her American boss, are so unpredictable they're dumbfounding," an unnamed spokesman of the North's Joint National Organization of Working People said in a statement last year published by the KCNA. "This is all because the United States' black, hairy hands reach deep into Park Geun-hye's skirt."

"RAT-LIKE"

The North's propaganda writers spent years attacking Lee, Park's predecessor, by saying he looked like a rat.

In a statement against Lee during his final days as president in January 2013, the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea compared Lee and his "treacherous group" to rats five different times, saying that they should be "beaten (to death) in time" and "completely exterminated."

In July 2012, KCNA said the "death-bed frenzy" of Lee's "group of traitors reminds one of the rat-like hoodlums being dragged to gallows."

Lee drew Pyongyang's anger by departing from the rapprochement policies of his two liberal predecessors and slapping the North with broad trade sanctions in 2010 following the sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors and which Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

"FASCIST DICTATOR"

North Korea has described Park Geun-hye as a worse "traitor" than her dictator father, Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea for 18 years until his assassination by his spy chief in 1979.

The North attempted to assassinate the elder Park by sending a team of 31 commandos across the border in 1968, but they were stopped near Park's presidential mansion in Seoul.

Shortly after his death, the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper called Park a "a truculent fascist dictator" who "plunged South Korea into a sea of blood, arresting, imprisoning and brutally murdering (those) ... who called for the democratization of society and the reunification of the country."

SLAPS AGAINST U.S.

North Korea often extends its insults to the presidents and other key officials of the United States, which Pyongyang labels as an imperialist aggressor and puppet master of the Seoul government.

The North hurled racist insults at U.S. President Barack Obama more than once, with Pyongyang's powerful National Defence Commission calling him a "monkey in a tropical forest" in December 2014 over the hacking row involving the movie "The Interview," a comedy that depicts Kim's assassination.

The North's state media has called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a "hideous" lantern jaw, and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, as a "funny lady" who sometimes "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping."

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who in 2002 bracketed North Korea with Iran and pre-war Iraq as part of an "axis of evil," was labeled as a "world dictator," and a "hooligan bereft of any personality as a human being." His vice-president, Dick Cheney, was described by the North in 2005 as "the most cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast as he has drenched various parts of the world in blood."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Pepper spray and stun grenades: Confrontation near Trump parade route escalates [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Donald Trump, and while the majority of those expected in Washington on Friday will be there to celebrate, some protesters say their plan is to do their best to disrupt the day. Source
  • Group plans interactive Titanic museum for Niagara Falls

    Canada News CTV News
    An interactive museum that hopes to recreate the experience of sailing on board the Titanic may be coming to Canada. A group in Niagara Falls, Ont., has conditionally purchased land that would house the museum and is moving ahead with plans to launch an exhibit dubbed "Experience Titanic. Source
  • God Bless America, Mourning in America: Dueling social media trends on inauguration day

    World News CTV News
    As Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America on Friday, social media exploded with people reacting to the momentous event. “God Bless America,” “Mourning in America,” “Donald J. Source
  • Tim Hortons billionaire co-founder loses bid to have sex-assault suit tossed

    Canada News CTV News
    GRAPHIC CONTENT warning: Some of the details in this story are disturbing. TORONTO -- A woman's lawsuit alleging that the billionaire co-founder of Tim Hortons sexually assaulted her at his home will have to be decided at a full-blown trial, Ontario's top court ruled Friday. Source
  • Fredericton man charged after $710K worth of drugs seized

    Canada News CBC News
    A 39-year old Fredericton man remains in custody after police seized drugs with an estimated street value of $710,000 from a home on the city's south side on Tuesday. The man appeared in court Friday and was charged with two counts of trafficking, two counts of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking, and having the proceeds of crime. Source
  • Sex trafficking spiking in London, Ont.

    Canada News CBC News
    Officials working to stop sex trafficking along the 401 corridor between Windsor and Toronto have noticed a "shocking" spike in the number of women and girls being trafficked out of London, Ont. London is a middleground for johns moving women between highway hotels, said Det. Source
  • Mountie handed conditional discharge over cocaine buys

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A former Mountie from the Kamloops, B.C., detachment will not be serving any jail time after pleading guilty to buying cocaine on three separate occasions. Randi Love was handed a conditional discharge after she was initially charged with three counts of trafficking. Source
  • Prosecutor: Extradition of El Chapo is milestone for justice [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Saying they were bringing the world’s most notorious drug lord to justice, U.S. prosecutors on Friday described Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as the murderous architect of a 3-decade-long web of violence, corruption and drug addiction and announced they were seeking a $14 billion forfeiture from him. Source
  • Texas court hearing case to limit gay marriage legalization

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a Houston case that top conservatives hope will provide an opening to challenge the landmark 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Reversing its previous ruling, the state's highest civil court set arguments for March in a lawsuit seeking to halt same-sex spousal benefits that America's fourth-largest city offers its municipal employees. Source
  • La Loche schools close after RCMP receive threat

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LA LOCHE, Sask. — Classes have been cancelled in La Loche, Sask., after RCMP say there was a threat of a school shooting one year after a deadly shooting in the community. Mounties say they received a complaint about a general threat Thursday and an investigation determined it was not legitimate. Source