FILE - In this May 16, 2018, file photo, a U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet lands as South Korea and the United States conduct the Max Thunder joint military exercise at an air base in Gwangju, South Korea. (Park Chul-hog/Yonhap via AP)

As summit looms, North Korean media return to angry tone

North Korean media are stepping up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States

North Korean media stepped up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States, warning Tuesday that a budding detente could be in danger.

State media unleashed three strongly worded commentaries slamming Seoul and Washington for the manoeuvrs and demanding Seoul take action against defectors it claimed were sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border.

The official media had until recently taken a relatively subdued tone amid the North’s diplomatic overtures to its neighbours, including a summit with South Korea’s president last month and plans for leader Kim Jong Un to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

That first changed last week, when it lashed out against the manoeuvrs, cut high-level contacts with Seoul and threatened to “reconsider” the Trump summit.

Related:Trump: North Korea summit plans set; drawdown not on table

Related:South Korea to remove propaganda loudspeakers at border

One of the reports on Tuesday, which came as North Korea allowed an airplane full of foreign journalists into the country to cover the dismantling of its nuclear test site this week, accused Seoul of teaming up with Washington for military drills intended as a show of force and as a “war drill” against it.

It’s not unusual for North Korea’s official media to turn to hyperbole to make a point and the rhetorical barrage coincides with a visit to Washington by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Strongly worded messages don’t necessarily mean it is backing away from diplomatic negotiations.

But the North’s abrupt sharpening of its words has raised concerns the Trump summit may prove to be a bumpy one — or that it could even be in jeopardy. Trump has suggested he is willing to walk away if Kim isn’t willing to have a fruitful meeting and it appears both sides have agendas that remain far apart from each other.

There has been no indication that North Korea will cancel plans to dismantle the test site, an important gesture of goodwill. The North has also not suggested it will go back on its promise to halt underground testing and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But it did ban South Korean journalists from the trip to the nuclear site. And the language Tuesday offered a veiled threat that talks could be harmed.

“Dialogue and saber-rattling can never go together,” said the commentary published in Minju Joson, one of the country’s four main daily newspapers.

“There are some arguments describing the improvement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula as ‘result of hard-line diplomacy’ of the U.S. and ‘result of sustained pressure,’” said another, by the official KCNA news agency. “It seriously chills the atmosphere of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue and is of no help to the development of the situation.”

DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

Yet another article lashed out at South Korean authorities for allowing defectors to send anti-North Korea leaflets across their border.

It noted that the two leaders agreed at their summit in the Demilitarized Zone last month not to conduct hostile acts against each other and said the authorities have an obligation under that agreement to block such actions, even by private citizens.

“If the North-South relations face a grave difficulty again owing to the provocation of human scum, the blame for it will be entirely on the South Korean authorities,” the report said. “They must know what price they will be made to pay.”

___

Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief.

Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf ready for summer season

The plan is to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume the mid-coast service as of May 18

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read