TOKYO – North Korea is joyfully jumping into a bizarre political scandal rocking Seoul, calling it the inevitable result of a corrupt regime and saying the administration of South Korean President Park Geun-hye is "the most deformed, abnormal and stupid in contemporary society."
Pyongyang, while allowing none of its media the freedom to point criticism at its own leadership, has wasted no opportunity to lambaste Park in the harshest ways it can.
The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency on Monday called the scandal a "hideous power-backed corruption case unprecedented in South Korean history."
Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, added the "deformed, abnormal and stupid" characterization and, just for good measure, called Park a "colonial stooge."
The scandal, one of the biggest to rock the South in recent years, involves allegations that Choi Soon-sil, a cult leader's daughter and longtime associate of the president who holds no official office, may have played a large and inappropriate role in government affairs and personally benefited from those ties. Additional reports allege she misused money from nonprofit organizations after pressuring businesses into donations.
"The whole society of in the south of Korea is now boiling like a porridge pot at the shocking news," Jon Min Dok, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official, told an Associated Press Television crew in Pyongyang on Tuesday.
While less fiery in his invective than the North's almost always bellicose media, Jon accused the Park administration of having no "political direction and thinking," and said anyone who deals with it will be blamed "for causing the deterioration of the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula."
Any administration in Seoul can count on being branded as stooges and puppets of the U.S. by the North.
But North Korea has a special grievance with Park.
She had adopted an increasingly hawkish policy toward Pyongyang as her tenure has progressed and the North has stepped up its nuclear tests and long-range missile development.
But the bad blood goes much farther back. Her father, the staunchly anti-communist military strongman Park Chung-hee, was South Korea's president from 1963-1979. Though a North Korean attempt to assassinate him in at the presidential "Blue House" failed in 1968, he was killed by his own intelligence chief in 1979.
Park's mother was also assassinated, in 1974, by a Japanese-born Korean sympathizer of the North's regime.