North Korean media slams Pence amid reports of canceled secret meeting

By Jennie Oh  |  Feb. 21, 2018 at 8:42 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- North Korean media Wednesday criticized U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's visit to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics amid reports that the North had canceled a meeting with him.

The North's Rodong Sinmun daily criticized Pence and Japanese leader Shinzo Abe's visit to Pyeongchang as a "disgusting, confrontational display to ruin the improvement of inter-Korean relations and fulfill its ambition to suppress the DPRK."

Commenting on Pence's meeting with North Korean defectors and a visit to Cheonan Memorial Hall, the paper said the vice president had "slandered away at the North's highly esteemed state system with unspeakable insults" and "instigated anti-DPRK controversy among the South Korean conservatives."

The daily also blasted Pence's meeting with South Korean officials.

"He only unloaded confrontational verbal abuse full of lunacy such as 'abandoning nuclear weapons' and 'maximum pressure' -- unsuited to the mood of the Olympics," it said.

The article was published as U.S. media reported Tuesday that the Pence had initially planned to hold secret talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong on Feb. 10, during the Pyeongchang Olympics.

However, the North canceled just two hours before the scheduled meeting, the Washington Post reported.

No Cut News reported the North may have canceled the exchange after Pence, on Feb. 9, met North Korean defectors and visited the Cheonan Memorial Hall, which pays tribute to a warship sunk by a North Korean torpedo attack in 2010.

Since then, the Rodong Sinmun has published a string of insults about the vice president.

On the day of the scheduled meeting, the paper said he was displaying "indecent, nasty behavior," and, on Saturday, it described his actions as "pitiful, unsightly behavior," remarking that the United States will soon get a taste of the trouble that his "gangster-like threats" produce.

Regarding the canceled meeting, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington regrets the North passed up the dialogue opportunity.

Pence had been ready to "to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs" at the meeting, CNN reported.

"We regret their failure to seize this opportunity. We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American's unjust death," Nauert said.

South Korea's presidential office on Wednesday refused to comment on the aborted meeting, KBS reported.

Trending Stories