North Korea’s official party newspaper has published a lengthy article that argues that President Trump used human rights as a pretense for military action against its country during his State of the Union address and compared Trump’s speech to a 2002 address by President George W. Bush ahead of the invasion of Iraq.
The commentary, published in Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday, also takes numerous personal jabs at the American leader, describing him repeatedly as mentally unstable and suggesting that Trump is “dolt-like” if he thinks he can attack North Korea without repercussions.
The only way for the United States and the world to find peace, said one English-language translation of the commentary, would be “to urgently detain Trump, who is putting the U.S. and the world in turmoil, in the isolated hospital of psychopath.”
Trump used his Jan. 30 address to criticize Pyongyang, describing its pursuit of nuclear weapons as “reckless” and highlighting its “depraved character” and human rights abuses. He addressed an audience at the Capitol that included the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died days after he was released from a North Korean prison last year, and North Korean defector and activist Ji Seong-ho.
Trump said of Ji during the address: “Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most — the truth.”
The address was partially overshadowed, however, by the news that the White House had withdrawn the candidacy of the expected U.S. ambassador to South Korea, academic Victor Cha. In an opinion article later published by The Washington Post, Cha said that the Trump administration was considering a limited “bloody nose” strike against North Korea, warning that such a tactic could escalate “into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.”
The Rodong Sinmun article denounced Trump for raising the issue of human rights in the isolated Asian country and criticized him for praising “human trash” during his speech — an apparent reference to defector Ji. The article also referred to what it called human rights violations by the United States, including gun crime and racism, that were mentioned in a recent report by the North Korean government.
The article also warned against a “bloody nose” strike, suggesting that its increasingly sophisticated weapons program made such an attack by the United States impossible. The editorial said that Trump’s back would be broken if “one clump of grass” was touched in North Korea. An English-language translation of the Rodong Sinmun article published by Korean Central News Agency described Trump as “dolt-like” for considering such an option, though the original Korean could also be translated as “idiot.”
The Rodong Sinmun went on to compare Trump’s speech with Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address, in which Bush used the phrase “axis of evil” to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The comment is seen by a number of analysts and others as a precursor to the Iraq invasion the following year.
The comparison had been made by others. “It almost sounds like he is selling a future war with North Korea much the same way Bush did in his State of the Union on Iraq,” Duyeon Kim, a fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul, told The Washington Post shortly after Trump’s address.
North Korean state propaganda has often criticized U.S. leaders, including President Barack Obama and the Bush administration. It regularly insults Trump and recently called him a “dotard,” though Trump has broken with presidential tradition by insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in response.
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