North Korea’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a column condemning the free press of the United States for soliciting the opinions of members of the Trump administration Tuesday, dismissing their coverage as “nonsense.”
The Pyongyang government publication, which typically produces vitriolic content condemning all aspects of American government, culture, and life generally, also claimed that it expected no economic relief from talks with the United States, which remain ongoing.
The piece appeared on KCNA Watch, an aggregator that organizes all North Korean state media publications in one place, on Tuesday. Pyongyang reportedly geo-blocked the English-language Rodong Sinmun site from being read abroad years ago, making it impossible to access outside of Japan and, presumably, North Korea. KCNA Watch appears to aggregate by accessing the website from abroad and filtering it through its own space.
“Fox News TV, CBS and CNN of the U.S. recently let U.S. high-ranking officials appear in their programs and quoted them as saying about the DPRK-U.S. talks [sic],” Rodong Sinmun alleged, without citing any examples. “And they were as impudent as to make rubbish [sic] that if the DPRK meets the requirements of the U.S., it can get ‘large-scale non-governmental economic aid’ and that it should show that the denuclearization goes in a verifiable and irreversible way.”
“This is nonsense of hack media on the payroll of power, ignorant of who is the rival,” the newspaper concluded. “U.S. media would be well advised to stop talking nonsense as hack media and deeply study what the strategic line advanced at the historic April Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea means.”
The April Plenary Meeting mentioned in the piece is the one in which dictator Kim Jong-un reportedly told the senior leadership of the communist Workers’ Party of Korea that the country would pivot away from funneling all of its funds into nuclear weapons and instead put their efforts into “socialist economic construction.” While many in the West interpreted Kim’s statements as meaning that he would no longer pursue nuclear weapons, North Korean state media reported the remarks at the time as a confirmation that the world had welcomed North Korea into the club of nuclear-armed powers, so that further development was no longer necessary.
Without specific examples provided, it remains unclear which broadcast in American media triggered the outraged post. In the past two weeks, however, North Korean officials have vocally condemned the appearances of National Security Advisor John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence on U.S. television. Bolton told ABC News this month that he was hoping for complete, irreversible denuclearization on the part of North Korea and cited the Libyan model as an example.
“We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” a statement from a senior North Korean leader read, published after Bolton went on television. “It is a ridiculous comedy to see that the Trump administration, claiming to take a different road from the previous administrations, still clings to the outdated policy on the DPRK.”
Pence told Fox News a week ago that a military solution to tensions with North Korea “never came off” the table, and that America “will not tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten our people,” and the military option is still on the table.” North Korea responded by calling Pence a “dummy,” which triggered a short-lived cancelation of the scheduled June 12 meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump.
Elsewhere in its latest report, Rodong Sinmun also asserted that the United States sought out talks with Kim – not vice versa, as all reports in media not controlled by Pyongyang have determined – and that North Korea “has never expected” economic aid from America.
North Korea has repeatedly condemned sanctions placed on its economy by the United States and international bodies pressured by Washington to do so. China, North Korea’s largest trading partner, has repeatedly demanded that America invest millions into rebuilding the ruins of a North Korea ruled for half a century by the murderous Kim regime.
“Quick nuclear abandonment by Pyongyang is certainly a welcome thing. But such a sharp change could take place only if the US offers Pyongyang attractive rewards,” China’s Global Times state newspaper declared in April. Last month, Chinese and South Korean officials issued a joint statement agreeing that “the international community, including the United States, must actively take part in ensuring a bright future for North Korea through a security guarantee and support for its economic development.”
North Korea has repeatedly denied that its newfound interest in diplomacy is a product of unprecedented sanctions on its economy.