North Korea’s ruling party issued a statement Thursday condemning U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for issuing statements in defense of the human rights of people in China and expressed support for China’s ongoing crackdown on human rights in Hong Kong.
China is North Korea’s top trading partner – one of its very few – and a fellow communist country with a long history of solidarity for the repressive regime. China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) passed a law last week that allows the Communist Party to detain and prosecute anyone present in Hong Kong if considered a threat to the communist state, under alleged crimes such as “foreign interference” and “subverting the power of the state.” On Thursday, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the China-controlled government of Hong Kong passed a law that punishes “disrespect” for the Chinese communist anthem by up to three years in prison.
Pompeo, among other senior officials in the American government, have condemned China’s moves as a violation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy that Beijing agreed to when it received sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997. The policy does not allow Hong Kong to assert independence, but it also does not allow China to infringe on Hong Kong’s autonomy in writing its own laws.
“U.S. State Secretary Pompeo when interviewed by the U.S. media on May 31 termed China an actual threat,” a statement by the central committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the communist party there, read. “Saying that threat from China stems from the idea of the Communist Party, he reeled off rubbish that the U.S. would work with its partners in the West to make the world of the next century the one of the West where the U.S. ‘liberal democracy’ rules.”
“It is not the first time that he said nonsense about China over the issues of Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights and trade disputes. What should not be overlooked here is that he slandered the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over socialism,” the statement continued, stating that Pompeo’s remarks “indicate” that Washington would also call for freedom in North Korea.
“Pompeo, who has been deeply engrossed in espionage and plot-breeding against other countries, has become too ignorant to discern where the sun rises and where it sets,” the WPK asserted. “Demonstrators enraged by the extreme racists throng even [sic] to the White House. This is the reality in the U.S. today. American liberalism and democracy put the cap of leftist on the demonstrators and threaten to unleash even dogs for suppression.”
“Pompeo ought not to have such a pipe dream of undermining the Communist Party and socialism on their long victorious drive as what the successive rulers of the U.S. dreamt,” the committee concluded.
The latter comments appear to be a reference to ongoing protests and leftist riots throughout America in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Derek Chauvin, the man caught on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck until he died, is facing second-degree charges of murder.
The statement appeared to be a response to Pompeo’s remarks on a television appearance with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo in which he described the communist impositions on Hong Kong as “the destruction of this great, free place, this great place of enormous commerce.”
“This is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values. It puts Americans at risk,” Pompeo told Bartiromo.
In addition to the statement Thursday, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon met with Beijing’s ambassador in the country Friday, in part to express solidarity with the communists on the issue of Hong Kong.
“Saying that as the issue of Hong Kong is an internal affair of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the foreign forces’ interference in it is a wanton violation of the sovereignty of China and international law, he [Ri] stressed that the DPRK [North Korea] will as always positively support the stand of the Chinese party and government to safeguard the sovereignty and security of the state and its territorial integrity,” North Korean state media reported.
Chinese Ambassador Li Jinjun reportedly promised Ri to “strive to promote the construction and development of socialism.”
The attacks on the United States occur as Kim Yo-jong, sister of dictator Kim Jong-un and head of Pyongyang’s “propaganda and agitation” initiatives, threatened South Korea over legal campaigns organized by private citizens to send pro-democracy leaflets over the Korean border.
“Clearly speaking, the South Korean authorities will be forced to pay a dear price if they let this situation go on while making sort of excuses,” Kim said in an aggressive statement published Thursday.
For decades, South Koreans have used balloons and other aerial means to drop anti-Kim pamphlets into North Korea. Among other creative methods of outreach are filling plastic bottles with rice and other needs and letting them float into North Korea to help the starving populace.
Threats against South Korea continued on Friday.
“We will abolish the inter-Korean liaison office sitting idly in the Kaesong industrial complex immediately,” a spokesperson for North Korea’s United Front Department (UFD) said, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. The Kaesong complex was a failed attempt at improving relations through industrial cooperation; the liaison office allows the two governments to communicate.