Kerry ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing, says North Korea

Pyongyang personal attack cites US secretary of state’s ‘hideous lantern jaw’

US secretary of state John Kerry: “He is like a ferocious wolf pretending to be a benevolent sheep,” said North Korea’s National Defence Commission. Photograph: EPA/Jason Reed

US secretary of state John Kerry: “He is like a ferocious wolf pretending to be a benevolent sheep,” said North Korea’s National Defence Commission. Photograph: EPA/Jason Reed

Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 01:00

North Korea’s powerful National Defence Commission launched a remarkable tirade against US secretary of state John Kerry yesterday, describing him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” with a “hideous lantern jaw”.

It’s the latest personal attack from Pyongyang, which has previously called US president Barack Obama a monkey and South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye a prostitute.

“He is like a ferocious wolf pretending to be a benevolent sheep,” the commission said in an English-language statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The commission’s policy department accused Kerry of playing a “childish masque.”

“His behaviour fully revealed once again the US inveterate nature as a hypocrite who has deceived and mocked mankind with all sorts of gimmicks,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Getting personal in Korean

However, the personal insult appeared only in Korean, suggesting it was intended for domestic consumption as propaganda rather than an effort to put further strains on relations between the two countries.

Tensions are always high on the Korean peninsula at this time of year, because Washington and Seoul conduct annual military drills that Pyongyang sees as an invasion rehearsal.

Recent weeks have seen Mr Kerry make renewed appeals for Pyongyang to work towards better relations, while also urging it to improve its human rights situation and close its forced labour camps.

“The United States, I want to make this clear, is absolutely prepared to improve relations with North Korea if North Korea will honour its international obligations. It’s that simple,” Mr Kerry said during a visit to Australia.

“But make no mistake, we are also prepared to increase pressure, including through strong sanctions and further isolation, if North Korea chooses the path of confrontation.”

A top-ranking North Korean military official last month threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon. In July, the UN Security Council condemned North Korea for recently launching a series of short-range missiles.