The phrase "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all," has never been a motto of the North Korean government. It regularly lobs the harshest of insults without a second thought.
But the vitriol has recently reached new heights. No one's been a bigger target than South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye, who assumed office last year. In some of its most amazing (and offensive) barbs, North Korea has proved over and over again that not only does it really, really dislike the leader to the south, it's also painfully sexist.
Here's some incredible examples:
1. "Repulsive wench"
No misinterpreting this one. In late March, Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted one "citizen" calling Park a "repulsive wench" for choosing not to marry or have children. But wait, there's more. He went on to say that Park had "long given up trying to be a woman of Korea" and made "a mockery of sacred motherhood." Park has said she chose to remain unmarried because she is married to her country.
(JEFF RO/Flickr Commons)
After Park gave a speech about Korean reunification in Dresden on March 28, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North Korean Worker's Party, released a series of articles titled, "Park the bitch." In one article Park is described as a "lunatic," "idiot" and "cold-blooded animal." Another article in this important series quotes another ordinary "citizen" who says Park "jabbers like a little girl." The North often derides Park as a "little girl," sometimes in the same breath that she is derided as an "old lady."
3. "Frog in a well"
Writers at KCNA tend to couple the insult "frog in a well" with one about her age ("freakish old maid," for instance). It appears to be a criticism of Park's rejection of a traditional homemaker role. In South Korea, only two women hold ministeral posts. That's about 12 percent. About 32 percent hold such posts in the United States. Nicaragua actually has the largest percentage of women in cabinet positions, with about 57 percent.
The exact meaning of "frog in a well" remains up for debate. But suffice it to say, it's not a kindness.
4. "Babbling peasant"
(DENNIS JARVIS/Flickr Commons)
Referencing Park's speech at a nuclear summit in the Hague in late March, North Korea accused Park of "breaking a moratorium on cross-border insults," according to South China Morning Post, and likened her behavior to "babbling peasants." Park had voiced concerns over the North's nuclear materials ending up in the wrong hands.
5. "Dotard who is well over 60"
(TIM HAMILTON/Flickr Commons)
This one appears to be both subtle and multi-faceted (and a bit exaggerated). The Guardian suggests North Korea wanted to make a point about the youthfulness of their own darling leader, Kim Jong Un, who is a brisk 31 years old. But this one may have cut deep for another reason. In South Korea, talking about an older woman's age can be more offensive than talking about her weight. So, you know, this one may have hurt a little. Park is a youthful 62, for the record. So not quite "well over" yet.
6. "Park put thick makeup on her old, wrinkled face and rambled on"
(MOB MOB/Flickr Commons)
Here, again — also in Rodong Sinmun's now infamous "Bitch" series — the North takes issue with Park's age and gender.
7. "Faithful servant and stooge of the US"
(TORMOD SANDTORV/Flickr Commons)
There really is no greater offense than collaborating with the United States. This we know. And North Korea never misses a chance to rake the coals over South Korea for its happy relationship with the world's irksome super power. North Koreans are taught from an early age that America is a bad country. And the government officially blames the United States for current tensions on the peninsula.
8. "Dirty prostitute"
(ANDREW FERGUSON/Flickr Commons)
Here's more on the subject of the United States. Even before Park became president, North Korea's official website, Uriminzokkiri, which translates to "Just our Nation," called Park a "dirty prostitute" who lifts her skirt for the United States, according to CBC News.
9. "Ignorant hooligans hell-bent on hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership"
(LISA PICARD/Flickr Commons)
The KCNA released a statement on Oct. 4, 2013 by a spokesperson for the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission that called Park and her cabinet a group of "ignorant hooligans."
If you think such insults are directed only at Koreans, think again — female American leaders have also been a target.
Condoleeza Rice — "A hen"
(STEVEN LILLEY/Flickr Commons)
In 2005, North Korea's state radio program called then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice "a hen strutting around in the White House, crowing arrogantly" and "a bitch running riot on the beach."
Hillary Clinton — "primary school girl"
(ANGELA SEVIN/Flickr Commons)
And in 2009, a representative of North Korea's foreign ministry called then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "a funny lady" who sometimes "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping."