SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea called former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden a â€œrabid dogâ€ that â€œmust be beaten to death with a stickâ€ in its latest swipe against foreign and political leaders it sees as hostile to the Northâ€™s leadership.
The commentary by Pyongyangâ€™s official Korean Central News Agency said the U.S. presidential hopeful â€œreeled off a string of rubbish against the dignityâ€ of the Northâ€™s supreme leadership, an act it said deserves â€œmerciless punishment.â€
It referred to him only with his surname and as vice president under Barack Obama, and in some versions spelled his name as â€œBaiden.â€
The North correctly spelled Bidenâ€™s name in May when it labeled him a â€œfool of low IQâ€ after he called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a tyrant during a speech.
North Korea often insults foreign leaders and politicians over what it sees as slanderous remarks toward its leadership or hostile policies against its government. It has made racist or sexist diatribes against Obama and former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the countryâ€™s first female leader.
Its frequent insults against Trump, including famously calling him a â€œdotard,â€ turned to praise after he in 2018 made diplomatic overtures to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that resulted in their three summits, including one brief handshake at the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
â€œAnyone who dare slanders the dignity of the supreme leadership of the D.P.R.K, can never spare the D.P.R.K’s merciless punishment whoever and wherever,â€ said the North Korean statement, referring to the country by its formal name, the Democratic Peopleâ€™s Republic of Korea.
â€œRabid dogs like Baiden can hurt lots of people if they are allowed to run about. They must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late,â€ it said.
It wasnâ€™t immediately clear which of Bidenâ€™s comments provoked North Koreaâ€™s anger. The Democrat has accused Trump of cozying up to â€œdictators and tyrantsâ€ and has been highly critical of his summitry with Kim, calling the meetings â€œthree made-for-TV summits.â€
South Koreaâ€™s Yonhap News Agency speculated that North Korea by insulting Biden was trying to appeal to Trump, who has continued to describe his personal relationship with Kim as good despite a stalemate in nuclear negotiations over disagreements in exchanging sanctions relief and disarmament steps.
Biden, especially at campaign fundraisers, laments Trumpâ€™s embrace of authoritarian foreign leaders. He has specifically named Kim and Russiaâ€™s Vladimir Putin, calling the pair â€œthugsâ€ and sometimes detailing Kimâ€™s human rights abuses and attacks against dissenters.
“It’s becoming more and more obvious that repugnant dictators, as well as those who admire and â€˜loveâ€™ them, find Joe Biden threatening,â€ said Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman. â€œThatâ€™s because heâ€™d restore American leadership in the world on day one by putting our security, interests and values at the heart of our foreign policy.â€
Even while North Korea has praised Trump, it criticized members of his administration seen as holding a hard line against North Korea, such as former national security adviser John Bolton. Last week, it called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe an â€œidiot and villainâ€ after he criticized a North Korean weapons test.
Associated Press journalist Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.