North Korea has lambasted US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the heavily-fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, calling the American official the "worst destroyer of international peace and stability.”
Pelosi visited Seoul earlier this week following a widely-bashed trip to Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit the Joint Security Area (JSA) on the DMZ in the border village of Panmunjom between the two Koreas since then-president Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un there in 2019.
She "made her appearance even in the joint security area of Panmunjom, utterly betraying the vision of the hostile policy of the current US administration towards" Pyongyang, said Jo Yong Sam, an official at the North Korean Foreign Ministry.
"Pelosi, the worst destroyer of international peace and stability... incurred the wrath of the Chinese people for her recent junket to Taiwan," Jo said. "The US will have to pay dearly for all the sources of trouble spawned by her wherever she went."
Before her visit, Pelosi had discussed what she claimed was “growing threat” posed by the North's nuclear program with her South Korean counterpart, National Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo.
The two officials called for "strong and extended deterrence against North Korea" and vowed to support efforts by Washington and Seoul to achieve Pyongyang's denuclearization.
On Thursday, North Korea's leader said his country was "ready to mobilize" its nuclear deterrent in any future military conflict with Washington and Seoul.
The US and South Korea have voiced concerns that Pyongyang has made preparations to conduct its first nuclear test in five years.
North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September 2017. However, during inconclusive negotiations later with the US, it dismantled a nuclear facility and has not conducted any other nuclear tests since then.
The United States has warned that it would push for additional sanctions if Pyongyang conducted a seventh nuclear test.
North Korea has tested a number of ballistic missiles this year, including massive intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), new hypersonic missiles, and a short-range missile potentially designed for tactical nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang maintains that its weapons tests are a defensive measure against threats posed by the massive presence of US forces near its territorial waters and the regular holding of joint US-led war games with Japan with South Korea.