PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea, after following the travails of South Korean President Park Geun-hye with unconcealed joy, got off to a slow start Saturday in reacting to her actual impeachment.
Pyongyang residents told of the news, however, were quick to judge.
First word of Friday's vote in Seoul to remove Park from office didn't come until Saturday afternoon from the North's state-run news agency, which reported it in a terse and largely insult-free story.
Nothing about Park's impeachment by the South's National Assembly was carried by North Korea's ruling party daily, the Rodong Sinmun, on Saturday morning. Instead, an older story, headlined "Last Ditch Efforts of the Power Maniac," took up most of the top half of Page 5.
"Park Geun-hye had already been judged by the popular masses a long time ago," said 43-year-old Ri Sol Ok. "She was a zombie with no authority to do anything."
With official word still forthcoming from the media — and few other sources of information from which to make judgments of their own — Pyongyang residents told of the impeachment vote not surprisingly echoed criticisms that have been stepped up since the scandal that brought Park down emerged, but which have also been a staple in the media here throughout her tenure.
North Koreans are offered little information about the South through their media and Park has been treated with a rare level of venom, in part because her father, the late South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee, was a staunchly anti-communist president, and in part because of Park's own hard-line position toward Pyongyang.
"It's inevitable for her to be impeached," said Kim Hyang Gun, a 46-year-old woman. "I can't understand how such an ignorant woman got the presidency."