North Korea has criticized US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her recent visit to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, calling it “the worst destroyer of international peace”.
Pelosi, who flew to Seoul earlier this week after a trip to Taiwan, became the highest-ranking US official to visit the Joint Security Zone between the two Koreas since then-President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un there in 2019.
Ahead of the JSA visit, Ms Pelosi discussed the “serious situation” and growing threat posed by the North’s nuclear weapons program with her South Korean counterpart, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo .
The pair called for “strong and widespread deterrence against North Korea” and pledged support for Washington and Seoul’s efforts to achieve Pyongyang’s denuclearization.
On Saturday, North Korea denounced Ms. Pelosi for her talks with Mr. Kim and her visit to the JSA.
In addition to the deterrence talks, Pelosi “has appeared even in the Panmunjom Joint Security Area, completely betraying the view of the current US administration’s hostile policy towards the DPRK,” said Jo Yong Sam, an official. North. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea, using the official name North.
“The United States is only adding fuel to the fire,” Jo added in a statement carried by Pyongyang’s official Korea Central News Agency.
The JSA is the only place along the tense 250 kilometer border where soldiers from North Korea and the US-led United Nations Command face each other.
Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has also drawn threats and massive military drills from China, which considers the self-governing island part of its territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.
China is the North’s main ally and trading partner, and Pyongyang also lambasted Ms Pelosi during her visit.
“Pelosi, the worst destroyer of international peace and stability…has drawn the ire of the Chinese people for her recent trip to Taiwan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The United States will have to pay dearly for every source of trouble caused by her wherever she went.”
The North’s rebuke comes about a week after Mr Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilize” its nuclear deterrent in any future military conflict with the United States and Seoul.
North Korea has conducted a record campaign of weapons testing so far this year, including firing a full-range intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017.
Officials in Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test – a move the United States says will provoke a “swift and forceful” response.