SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is continuing an escalating rhetorical battle on the Korean Peninsula, with an official saying rival North Korea “must disappear soon.”

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok also said Monday that North Korea isn’t a real country and exists for the benefit of only one person, a reference to dictator Kim Jong Un. He says the North has no human rights or public freedoms.

The comments followed a series of sexist and racist slurs by North Korea against the leaders of South Korea and the United States. Pyongyang’s state media likened South Korean President Park Geun-hye to an “old prostitute” and U.S. President Barack Obama to a “monkey” in recent dispatches.

Pyongyang’s rhetoric intensified after Obama and Park met in Seoul last month.