SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability,” accusing her of fueling anti-North Korean sentiment and infuriating China during her Asian tour earlier this week.
Pelosi traveled to South Korea after a visit to Taiwan, which prompted China to launch military exercises, including missile strike training in waters near the self-governed island. China considers Taiwan to be part of its own territory that must be annexed by force if necessary.
While in South Korea, Pelosi visited a border area with North Korea and discussed the North’s nuclear program with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo. According to Kim, the two agreed to support their governments in the pursuit of denuclearization and peace in the Korean peninsula based on strong, comprehensive deterrence against the north and diplomacy.
On Saturday, Jo Yong Sam, director general of the press and information department of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticized Pelosi for visiting the border and discussing anti-North Korean deterrence.
“Pelosi, who had received a volley of fair criticism from China for destroying regional peace and stability by visiting Taiwan, created an atmosphere of confrontation” with North Korea during her stay in South Korea, Jo said in a statement. statement from the state media.
Calling Pelosi “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability,” Jo argued that Pelosi’s behavior in South Korea clearly demonstrated the Biden administration’s hostile policies toward North Korea.
“It would be a fatal mistake for her to think she can go free on the Korean peninsula,” Jo warned. “The US will have to pay a heavy price for all the sources of trouble it spawned wherever it went.”
Pelosi’s visit to the Joint Security Area on the Korean border on Thursday made her the most prominent American to go there since then-President Donald Trump visited in 2019 to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Located within the world’s most heavily fortified border, the area is jointly controlled by the United Nations-led United Nations Command and North Korea. US presidents and other top officials have previously traveled to the area to reaffirm their security obligations to South Korea in times of hostility with North Korea.
During her JSA visit, Pelosi made no strong public statements against North Korea. She uploaded several photos of the JSA on Twitter, writing, “We have conveyed the gratitude of Congress and the country for the patriotic service of our military, who stand as sentinels of democracy on the Korean peninsula.”
Tensions in the Korean peninsula remain high after North Korea’s scorching series of missile tests earlier this year. US and South Korean officials said North Korea is ready to conduct its first nuclear weapons test in five years.
North Korea has said it would not return to denuclearization talks and would instead focus on expanding its nuclear program unless the United States abandons its hostile policies, in a clear reference to the US-led international sanctions against the north and its regular military exercises with South Korea.
After Pelosi visited Taiwan and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to defending democracy on the self-governing island, North Korea issued a statement on Wednesday berating the US and supporting China, its main ally and greatest benefactor.
Pelosi was the first Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan in 25 years.