AS US President Donald Trump began his State of the Union address, in which he denounced North Korean regime, Pyongyang was releasing its own judgement of the American president in a new report entitled, the “White Paper on Human Rights Violations in US in 2017.”
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced the release of the paper just moments after Trump began his annual address. In it, the North accuses the Trump administration of a litany of offences, calling it a “gross violator of human rights.”
According to KCNA, the report highlights a number of areas where Trump has damaged the country during his 12-month tenure.
Citing the racial violence that took place at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which a protestor was killed by a suspected white supremacist, the report said:
“Racial discrimination and misanthropy are serious maladies inherent to the social system of the US, and they have been aggravated since Trump took office.”
The paper also accused the president of filling his administration with “billionaires” and those who had contributed to his election campaign, as well as introducing policies that favour the wealthy.
“The anti-popular policies the Trump administration pursued openly in one year were, without exception, for the interests of a handful of the rich circles,” the report reads, as reported by KCNA.
Women’s equality and sexual harassment which has dominated the news around the world following the #MeToo movement, was notably absent from Trump’s State of the Union address. It was, however, mentioned in the white paper drawn up by DPRK Institute of International Studies.
“Over the past decade the proportion of American women who live below the poverty line has risen from 12.1 percent to 14.5 percent,” the report said. “They usually receive 25 percent less salary than their male colleagues of the same post.”
Adding that, “a woman is sexually abused every 89 seconds” in the United States.
The paper also said press freedom had suffered under Trump, and that the working masses are “hovering in the abyss of nightmare.”
The timing of the report suggests it is a rebuttal to the president’s national address, in which he calls the regime “cruel” and “depraved.”
The back-and-forth nature of rhetoric between Pyongyang and the US president has escalated over Trump’s first year.
After Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “little rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy” the country in his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly back in September, Kim fired back, by stating he will “tame” the “mentally deranged” president with fire.
More recently, in his new year address to the nation, Kim Jong Un again threatened the US with his nuclear capability. Trump then tweeted his response, saying: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
This war of words has led to speculation that a strike on Pyongyang may be being considered by the Trump administration.
During the speech, Trump also praised North Korean defector, Ji Seong-ho, who was in attendance. The human rights activist, who now lives in Seoul, received a round of applause as the president called his story of survival under the authoritarian regime, “a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.”