North Korea slammed Senator Ted Cruz in a scathing article, ranting about the Texas Republican's hard-line stance against engaging in diplomatic relations with longtime adversaries of the United States.
The commentary, published Thursday by the official Korean Central News Agency, did not specify exactly what remarks it was responding to, but referred to comments made "some time ago" and when he "dared to slander the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK," an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name. The outlet added that the legislator's "mud-slinging is a politically-motivated provocation to the DPRK as it represented the perspective of the conservative lawmakers on the DPRK, not just his own personal view."
Blasting the Senate Foreign Relations Committee member's views on Cuba, Iran and refugees as well, the outlet proclaimed: "No wonder, heavyweight lawmakers from the Republican Party contended if he becomes a presidential candidate from the Republican Party, it will be a big disaster.
"He, therefore, has become notorious not only in the U.S. but even in the Republican Party as 'an ultra-rightist detested by everyone,' 'a liar' and 'a demon in human shape,'" the news agency added. "His behavior is sure to make everyone take him as a remnant of Nazis with extreme misanthropy or a hysteric psychopath bereft of reason. We will never pardon whoever provokes the dignity of the supreme leadership of our country but will make those pay dearly for what they have done by all means."
Cruz has expressed criticism of President Donald Trump's efforts to secure peace with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, whose country the U.S. was trying to denuclearize in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. After the two leaders' second meeting in February ended early without a deal, Cruz said in a statement that "President Trump did the right thing by walking away from the Hanoi summit" because "Kim Jong-un cannot be trusted."
"If Kim is interested in sanctions relief, he must fully disclose his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, permit unrestricted access to relevant sites, and cooperate with verification organizations ensuring complete denuclearization. The president should accept nothing less and, if Kim agrees, the final terms should be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent," it added, advocating for "punishing Kim's human rights atrocities" and "to turn up the pressure on him and his regime."
Trump, who has a complex relationship with Cruz, has continued to express his willingness to deal with Kim, even as the young ruler recently launched a month-long series of some seven short-range missile launches in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, an act that angered Japan, the U.S.'s key ally in Asia.
Though Kim has remained on relatively good terms with the leaders of both the U.S. and South Korea, his administration has not hesitated to lash out against politicians who express skepticism towards the prospect of peace. In the country's latest attack on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who reaffirmed his support for sanctions on the so-called "hermit kingdom" in August, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called the top U.S. diplomat "a trouble-maker bereft of sensible cogitative power and rational judgment as he only casts dark shadow over the prospect of the DPRK-U.S. negotiations."
As for Cruz, whose Cuban father sought political asylum in the U.S. after a communist revolution at home, the Korean Central News Agency went so far as to describe him as "a descendant of a renegade who fled his motherland Cuba" who "took the lead in branding the former U.S. administration's plan to recover the relations with Cuba as a 'tragic mistake.'" The Texas lawmaker, dismissed by the outlet as "human scum" for his position, used the phrase in 2014 to describe former President Barack Obama's attempts to reestablish ties with the communist-led island subject to a U.S. embargo since the mid-20th century.
The agency also noted how Cruz stood against Obama's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran during his failed presidential run the following year, claiming the senator was "called a war maniac" for his hawkish views on the Islamic republic. The agency further derided Cruz's efforts to block the entry of Syrian refugees in 2016, with the North Korean commentary saying he was "branded as a radical racist in the U.S. political circle."
North Korea has maintained cordial ties with U.S. adversaries including Cuba, Iran and Syria. In August, Pyongyang welcomed its first Venezuelan embassy, fortifying its relationship with yet another country whose government Cruz has deemed illegitimate.