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Kim's words find rapt audience in Pyongyang
By Sebastien BERGER
Pyongyang (AFP) Sept 22, 2017

'Mentally deranged US dotard' and other North Korean insults
Seoul (AFP) Sept 22, 2017 - America's President is many things to many people but "mentally deranged US dotard" is perhaps the most memorable of names to have yet been coined for the billionaire reality television star-turned world leader.

Kim Jong-Un's rhetorical flourish might seem like an outlandish tongue-lashing of the US leader, but it is rather tame compared to the florid language normally deployed by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, which is peppered with flamboyant, imaginative and often antiquated language.

Taking aim at perceived adversaries, KCNA has labelled former US President George W. Bush a "half-baked man", ex-South Korean leader Park Geun-Hye a "crafty prostitute", and called previous US leader Barack Obama her "pimp".

Trump has traded tough rhetoric with Pyongyang as it pushed an increasingly brazen weapons programme in recent months, with missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test.

Calling Kim a "madman" and "Rocket Man", he first threatened Pyongyang with "fire and fury", but this week scaled up, saying Washington would "totally destroy" the North if it threatened the US or its allies.

Kim's retort published on Friday was unusual for its outraged personal tone but it contained many of the familiar KCNA tropes, calling Trump "a rogue and a gangster".

But it was the "dotard" reference that had people reaching for their reference books, according to online dictionary Merriam Webster, which tweeted: "Kim Jong Un calls Trump a mentally deranged U.S. dotard. Searches for 'dotard' are high as a kite."

In the original Korean version, which is often far stronger than the official KCNA English declarations, the "dotard" quote can be more directly translated as calling Trump an "old lunatic".

Observers joke that much of KCNA's English seems to have been sourced with the help of an ancient dictionary.

Some of its pronouncements verge on the Shakespearean.

In 2013, about two years after the young North Korean leader took power, Kim had his influential uncle and mentor, Jang Song-Thaek, executed for treason.

The official KCNA report of the execution called Jang "despicable human scum... who was worse than a dog" and said he "perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal" against Kim and the ruling party.

KCNA devoted particular venom to the South's former leader Park, often focused on her gender.

In 2014, while accusing her of being a "whore" for Obama, it blasted her criticism of its weapons programme as "froth(ing) at the mouth".

Pyongyang had earlier likened her to a "peasant woman babbling to herself in the corner of her room".

So well established is the state media's reputation for bilious invective, one website has compiled a back catalogue of some its most exquisite exhortations and hosts a satirical random insult generator.

But the lurid prose of the North's media sometimes tiptoes towards poetry.

This week, the Minju Joson state newspaper railed against tough new penalties imposed on the country for its weapons programme.

"The U.S. sanctions on the DPRK will prove futile and it will be just like sweeping the sea with (a) broom," it said.

An expectant hush fell on the crowd as the giant screen outside Pyongyang's main train station went black on Friday afternoon.

Workers, students in grey uniforms, travelling families surrounded by piles of bags, women shielding themselves from the late summer sun with frilly parasols, for several minutes they all gazed at the rectangle with anticipation.

White text appeared on a red background: "The faith of the revolutionary is unchangeable even in death."

Korean Central Television's main bulletin, which airs soon after 3pm (0630 GMT), can be relied on to focus on the doings of the Supreme Leader, as Kim Jong-Un is known in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

But after Kim's stingingly personal denunciation of US President Donald Trump was carried in the Friday edition of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, and the official Korean Central News Agency, expectations for the broadcast were high.

Then veteran newsreader Ri Chun-Hee appeared, who in her time has announced nuclear tests, rocket launches and leaders' deaths.

She read out Kim's statement over a picture of him sitting at his desk in his office at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party.

"A frightened dog barks louder," the statement declared, as scores of citizens streamed towards the screen, bringing the crowd to hundreds of people.

They watched with grim expressions of resolve as Kim threatened to make Trump "pay dearly" for his threat at the United Nations to "totally destroy" North Korea.

- 'Crazy dog' -

In the still image on screen, Kim looked straight into the camera, a microphone before him, the bookshelves behind him packed with green volumes - possibly the works of his father and grandfather Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung, his dynastic predecessors.

"He is framing the speech very much as the leader of his country," John Delury of Yonsei University in Seoul told AFP.

Unlike most North Korean pronouncements, which tend to focus on governments rather than individuals, it was an unusually direct condemnation of the US president, calling him "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Kim said the property mogul and reality television star turned politician had been criticised on the US campaign trail as a "political layman".

"Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world," the statement said. "He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician."

Despite being one of the world's youngest heads of state and less than half Trump's age, with six years in office Kim has significantly longer experience in politics.

The North Korean leader was "almost talking down to him and saying you are not supposed to speak that way at the UN", said Delury.

To the audience in Pyongyang, it was inspirational.

North Korea imposes strict bans on foreign publications and news, aiming to ensure that its citizens only see and read the comprehensively controlled domestic media, which constantly reinforce the official stance that the country is at risk of invasion by the United States and needs nuclear weapons to protect itself.

"We no longer need any words," said construction worker Kim Kwang-Hyok after watching the bulletin, clenching his fist. "I think that a crazy dog should be dealt with using a club and fire."

Ordinary North Korean citizens normally only ever express sentiments in line with the authorities when speaking to foreign media.

Ryu Ri Hwa, 74, said she had been through the Korean War and was feeling "indescribable anger".

"Now we have nuclear weapons so I am feeling very confident. We can win the war a hundred, a thousand times as long as we have our leader!" she cried, as onlookers applauded.

"Trump is a lunatic, lunatic! A lunatic who knows nothing!"

N. Korea shrugs off Trump threat as 'dog's bark'
Seoul (AFP) Sept 21, 2017
North Korea's foreign minister has brushed aside US President Donald Trump's fiery threat to destroy his nation, comparing it to a "dog's bark" and suggesting Pyongyang would not be deterred by the rhetoric. Trump used his stormy maiden address at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday to warn the North that Washington would "totally destroy" it if the US or its allies was attacked. ... read more

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