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[Editorial] Careless remark

Two Koreas should stop trading barbs

North Korea continued Thursday its verbal assault on the South’s Defense Ministry spokesman for his scathing criticism of its regime earlier this week.

The spokesman said during a news briefing Monday that “the North should vanish as soon as possible because it can no longer be seen as a normal state.” He made the controversial remark after denouncing the North for denying having sent drones into the South.

Last week, the Defense Ministry concluded that the three drones discovered near the inter-Korean border in March and April had been sent by Pyongyang. The conclusion was based on the GPS coordinates stored in the unmanned vehicles, which showed where they originated.

But the North flatly denied Seoul’s claim, asserting that “the story about the ‘North’s involvement’ in the ‘drone case’ is nothing but a ‘charade’ against North Korea from A to Z.” It repeated its demand for a joint investigation into the drones to determine their origin.

The North’s brazen denial apparently irked the spokesman. But what really drove him mad were the unspeakable words the North has continued to use to insult President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama following their April 25 summit.

The North’s media called Park “an old prostitute coquetting with outside forces,” while describing Obama as “a wicked black monkey.”

Undoubtedly, the North’s verbal abuse has gone beyond acceptable limits. So Washington was right to condemn the North’s ad hominem attacks on Obama. The South also has every right to urge the North to stop swearing at the two leaders.

Yet Kim went too far when he said the North should vanish as soon as possible because it did not even deserve to be regarded as a state.

The Pyongyang regime took Kim’s remarks as “a total denial of compatriots in the North” and an undisguised revelation of the South’s “wild ambition to achieve unification by absorption.”

When President Park unveiled her inter-Korean cooperation and exchange proposals in Dresden, Germany, in March, the North suspected that the scheme was geared toward unification by absorption.

In light of the North’s suspicions, all Seoul officials should have refrained from making comments that could be construed as revealing the South’s real intentions. In this regard, Kim’s remarks were careless and inappropriate, to say the least.

Now, the two Koreas should stop trading barbs, which serves no useful purpose. The North’s young leader should stop throwing tantrums over what Park and Obama said during the summit and instead take Park’s Dresden proposals more seriously.