North Korea took its most personal swipe at President Donald Trump in more than two years, saying the US leader’s recent comments made him sound like a “heedless and erratic old man.”
The statement released by North Korean official Kim Yong Chol on Monday was the latest in an rhetorical tit-for-tat ahead of Pyongyang’s self-imposed year-end deadline for a breakthrough in nuclear talks. On Sunday, Trump played down warnings from the regime, saying in a tweet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “too smart and has far too much to lose” if he renewed hostility with the US.
“This naturally indicates that Trump is an old man bereft of patience,” said Kim Yong Chol, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “As he is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we can not but call him a ‘dotard’ again may come.”
The personal insults recalled the tense days of 2017, when an escalating series of North Korean missile tests led Trump to mock Kim as “Rocket Man” while threatening to totally destroy the country at the United Nations. North Korea later dismissed Trump as a “dotard” before both men put their public animosities aside for unprecedented nuclear talks that resulted in three face-to-face meetings, but no disarmament deal.
Monday’s statement suggested that Kim Jong Un’s opinion of Trump, 73, “may change,” if the US leader didn’t change course. “If the US has no will and wisdom, it can not but watch with anxiety the reality in which the threat to its security increases with the passage of time,” said Kim Yong Chol.
Until April, Kim Yong Chol, who’s also 73, was vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party and met with Trump twice at the White House ahead of summits between the two leaders. Most recently, state media have described him as chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.