The White House denounced North Korean rhetoric it called "particularly ugly and disrespectful" on Thursday, after comments from the Korean Central News Agency were released calling President Obama a "crossbreed" and a "wicked black monkey."
The tirade, which comes just weeks after North Korean media struck out at South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, was attributed to Kang Hyuk, a worker at the Chollima Ironworks Factory.
"How Obama looks makes me disgusted. As I watch him more closely, I realise that he looks like an African native monkey with a black face, gaunt grey eyes, cavate [sic] nostrils, plump mouth and hairy, rough ears. He acts like a monkey with a red bum, irrationally eating everything. Africa's national zoo will be the perfect place for Obama to live, licking breadcrumbs thrown by visitors."The KCNA report went on to quote another worker, Jung Young-guk, who stated that the President "had a disgusting monkey look, even though he is wearing a fancy suit like a gentleman."
Although United States authorities routinely ignore propaganda statements made by North Korea, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf pushed back at the tirade on Thursday, calling the comments "offensive and ridiculous and absurd." Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, also released a statement, adding "While the North Korean government-controlled media are distinguished by their histrionics, these comments are particularly ugly and disrespectful."
While North Korean media is state-run, attributing the remarks to a citizen gives them some distance from the particularly inflammatory remarks, according to Professor Yoo Ho-yeol of Korea University in South Korea.
"If it was to publish such a report in the voice of the authorities it would entrap them, whereas reporting the story under some ordinary citizen's name will give them leeway."This is hardly the first time that North Korea has released such provocative statements. Following her summit with President Obama last month, the North called the South Korean President a "crafty prostitute," and referred to Obama as her "powerful pimp." Previously, the North stoked tensions when it lashed out at Michael Kirby, who chairs the United Nations committee investigating human rights abuses in North Korea. KCNA called Kirby "a disgusting old lecher," saying "He is now over 70, but he is still anxious to get married to his homosexual partner."
-Professor Yoo Ho-yeol
Mentions of both Obama and Park have increased recently among the North's media outlets. Analysts believe that North Korea may be amplifying its rhetoric ahead of an anticipated forth nuclear test.