North Korea Calls Mike Pence a 'Political Dummy' as It Threatens 'Nuclear-to-Nuclear Showdown'

North Korea lashed out at President Donald Trump's administration amidst rising tensions with the United States, further fueling doubts that the upcoming summit between the nations' leaders on June 12 may be canceled. Choe Son Hui, a vice foreign minister in North Korea, continued the regime's use of bomb-throwing rhetoric, calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" and warning that the alternative to a meeting is a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown."

Choe took showed particular ire for Pence's remarks this week endorsing the "Libya model" of denuclearization for the regime, which involves its completely giving up any capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction. Many have argued that this is particularly poor language to use, given that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was eventually dragged through the street and killed by his country's people after an attack from NATO bombers.

“As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice-president,” Choe said in a statement Thursday morning local time. “We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them.”

Speaking on Fox News on Monday, Pence said of the struggles with, "This will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”

National security adviser John Bolton, known as a major hawkish voice in the administration, had also previously endorsed the "Libya model," which the North Koreans have explicitly rejected.

“We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” Choe said.

On Tuesday, Trump met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He told reporters in the Oval Office that he was less optimistic about the chance of meeting than he had been before. 

“There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out, and that’s OK,” Trump said. “That doesn’t mean it won’t work over a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12.”

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