North Korea's state media on Thursday reported that anti-US rallies were staged in South Korea during US President Donald Trump's latest visit to Seoul, without releasing official comments on his speech condemning the North.
Trump wrapped up his two-day visit to Seoul on Wednesday by addressing the National Assembly. He denounced the North's leader Kim Jong-un as a dictator and tyrant, highlighting the deplorable human rights situation facing ordinary North Koreans.
Without commenting on Trump's speech, the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's main newspaper, carried photos and reports over South Korean activists staging rallies against Trump, in a move seen aimed at bolstering anti-US sentiment.
Trump softened his tone on North Korea, but his parliamentary speech can be viewed as a direct attack on the North's leader.
|US President Donald Trump delivers an address before South Korea`s National Assembly on Nov. 8. (Yonhap)|
"The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face," Trump said. "It is not the paradise that your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves."
Tensions have heightened amid North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and exchanges of incendiary rhetoric between Trump and Kim.
The US leader had mocked Kim Jong-un by calling him "Little Rocket Man." He also said he would "totally destroy" North Korea if the US were forced to defend itself and its allies due to the North's nuclear and missile threats.
Seoul's unification ministry said that Trump dialed down his tone, but delivered a message that can be painful for the North Korean leadership.
"North Korea might be pondering over what to do in that it has suspended its provocative acts for about 50 days and Kim Jong-un's public activity has been on the decline (in recent weeks)," a ministry official said. "We are closely watching the North's reaction."
Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, said North Korea is likely to strongly protest Trump's speech as he called for tougher sanctions and highlighted the North's dismal human rights record.
"North Korea could regard Trump's speech as a declaration of war against it," Cheong said. "I see a high chance of North Korea firing more missiles."
But some experts expect that North Korea is likely to take a wait-and-see approach and decide on its next step after watching the summit between Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. (Yonhap)