The XX Factor

North Korea Calls South Korean President a “Dirty Comfort Woman” and “Capricious Whore”

Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

Some lovely words for South Korean President Park Geun-hye are pouring out of North Korea, thanks to a two-day trip President Obama paid to Seoul last week in which he and Park discussed tightening sanctions against Pyongyang due to its increased nuclear testing, revealed in part by satellite.

In a statement reported by North Korea’s official news agency, the Committee for the Peaceful Unification of Korea (which sounds neither peaceful nor particularly interested in unity) compared Park to “an indiscreet girl who earnestly begs a gangster to beat someone or a capricious whore who asks her fancy man to do harm to other person while providing sex to him.” Also a “wicked sycophant and traitor, a dirty comfort woman for the U.S. and despicable prostitute selling off the nation” who suffers from “confrontation hysteria.” Also she will probably be assassinated, like her dad: “Her present behavior suggests that her fate will be just the same as that of her father Park Chung Hee who met a miserable death.”

Park has heard a lot of this before: The North Korean military body recently called her a “venomous swish of skirt” (which, awesome) and the national newspaper ran an editorial—“We accuse Park the bitch”—decrying the “old cat groaning in her sickbed” who “jabbers like a little girl.” Still, as the Guardian notes, the reference to comfort women holds a special sting for South Koreans, bruised from memories of Japanese troops who forced women into sex during World War II.

Ah, the spun-glass phrases of diplomacy. Park—at once an old cat and a young girl and a dog of indeterminate age and a creature that jabbers—is not the only woman to be the victim of such evocative language. Pyongyang’s foreign ministry once described Hillary Clinton as a “funny lady” who “sometimes looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.” And North Korean state radio conceived of Condoleezza Rice as “a hen strutting around in the White House, crowing arrogantly” and “a bitch running riot on the beach.” Someone needs to get these guys a gig writing headlines for the New York Post, or perhaps penning asides for Frank Underwood to intone demonically on House of Cards—except that they are also sitting on launch codes for the country’s nuclear weapons.