North Korea’s state newpaper, Rodong Sinmun, published a piece accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of “noisily crying out for military counteraction” against Pyongyang a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson invited North Korean diplomats to a talk without preconditions.
“The Trump group’s call for military attack on the DPRK is no more than last-ditch efforts of those taken aback by the tremendous nuclear deterrence of Juche Korea,” the piece read on Wednesday, referring to North Korea by its official name, the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” and referring to the communist Kim regime’s ideology of “self-reliance,” or “Juche.”
“The Trump group is in a position to drink a bitter cup of defeat in the nuclear showdown between the DPRK and the U.S. Therefore, their military hysteria is adding to extreme apprehension and despair of the U.S. society,” the article continues.
The Korean Central News Service (KCNA), another communist-controlled media outlet in the country, also reported on dictator Kim Jong-un’s presence at a national security conference on Sunday, where he applauded the scientists reportedly responsible for the nation’s most recent illegal missile test. Pyongyang launched a missile in late November that it claims to be a new model of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), called the Hwasong-15. Experts disagree on whether this claim is true or North Korea instead tested yet another Hwasong-14; the missile did not fly past the Sea of Japan.
KCNA reports that Kim congratulated the scientists behind the missile for having “most faithfully and perfectly carried out the Party’s plan for building strategic nuclear force.”
At the national security conference, Kim also revealed several new military leaders promoted for their loyalty to the regime, South Korean outlet Yonhap reported. Among the most prominent of these is new “vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea” Thae Jong-su, whose role, Yonhap notes, “has not been clearly understood.”
Absent from North Korea’s state media on Wednesday were remarks that Secretary Tillerson made at a forum on Tuesday that appeared to shift significantly away from Trump administration policy. Tillerson invited North Korean diplomats to speak to him and his colleagues “without precondition.”
“Let’s just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want,” he said at the Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum. “Talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table, if that’s what you are excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face, and then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work towards.”
Tillerson’s remarks come as reports suggest that he will soon visit Canada for a one-day trip designed to plan multilateral talks regarding the North Korean nuclear threat. Tillerson will reportedly meet Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recently suggested involving the communist regime of Cuba in North Korea talks.
The White House responded to questions regarding Tillerson’s offer to Pyongyang by asserting that they do not indicate any change of heart on the part of President Trump, who has chided Tillerson on Twitter for diplomatic overtures to the regime that he considers a “waste of time.”
“The President’s views on North Korea have not changed,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
The government of China, North Korea’s largest trading partner and closest ally, appeared to welcome Tillerson’s comments. “Peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation remains the consistent position of the Chinese government. China welcomes all efforts that will help ease the tension and resolve the issue through dialogue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday during the department’s regular press briefing.
“We hope that the US and the DPRK will work towards the shared goal and make a meaningful step towards dialogue and engagement,” he added.