NK leader’s direct statement is ‘eye for an eye’ tactic: expert

By Jung Min-kyung
  • Published : Sept 22, 2017 - 18:41
  • Updated : Sept 22, 2017 - 18:41
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ratcheted up his harsh rhetoric against the US and allies by issuing a rare direct statement on Friday, which experts here interpreted as an “eye for an eye” tactic against his US counterpart Donald Trump.

The written statement, which was released in English North Korea’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, vowed to consider the “highest-level” of countermeasures including options of military attack against the US. This marks the first time a North Korean leader has spoken first-hand on behalf of diplomatic purposes.

The published statement, which was attached with a photo of Kim reciting a transcript, is viewed as a response to Trump’s speech on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly. 

Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)

“Kim’s unprecedented move is a direct counter-response to Trump’s strong rhetoric portrayed through his recent UN assembly speech,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.

“It’s a diplomatic game of chicken between the two and an eye for an eye tactic by Kim. It also shows Kim is closely eyeing the reaction of the US and the international community,” he said.

On Tuesday, Trump called Kim a “rocket man on a suicide mission” and claimed the US could “totally destroy” the rogue regime, in his maiden speech addressing the UN assembly. He also added he felt sorry for those who worked for the North’s current strongman.

“Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” Kim warned.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho further elaborated on Kim’s statement by saying that his home country could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean, to the press outside his hotel in New York on Friday. Ri did not explain the details of the possible provocation and said Kim Jong-un was the decision-maker of such plans.

The head of the North Korean delegation had previously compared Trump’s remarks to “the sound of a dog barking” and that the US President’s aides were “working for a dog” in front of the reporters who were waiting for his arrival in New York.

The recent “war-of-words” between Kim and Trump echoes a similar exchange in August where the US president said the North will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues with its provocations against the international community. In clear defiance, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 and fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Sept. 15.

A government official here noted on Friday that the last time a North Korean leader issued a direct formal statement was in 1976 when North Korean soldiers murdered two US Army officers in the Joint Security Area near the inter-Korean border. The letter of apology was delivered under the name of then-North Korean leader and founder Kim Il-sung.

By Jung Min-kyung (