File photo of U.S. President Barack Obama, center, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right. (AP Photo)
Pyongyang launched a vicious personal attack on South Korean President Park Geun-Hye Sunday, calling her a "prostitute" in thrall to her "pimp" Barack Obama, as it said it was ready for "full-scale nuclear war".
In a diatribe that was strongly worded even by the standards of its normally florid prose, the North lashed out at the relationship between a "master and its puppet" and threatened Park would pay a "dear price".
"Park Geun-Hye's recent behaviour with Obama was like a mean, immature girl begging gangsters to beat up someone she does not like," the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) said.
"Or a crafty prostitute eagerly trying to frame someone by giving her body to a powerful pimp," it added, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The vitriol came the day after US President Obama wrapped up a two-day visit to the South, during which he called the North a "pariah state" whose isolation would deepen further if it pushed ahead with a feared fourth nuclear test.
Recent satellite imagery has revealed heightened activity at the North's nuclear test site, and Park warned Friday that Pyongyang was ready to stage another atomic test "anytime."
Both presidents cautioned defiance of international rules would mean harsher sanctions on the impoverished country, and urged China to discourage its wayward ally from a new provocation.
The CPRK, the North's body tasked with handling cross-border affairs, slammed the pair's remarks, which it called "intolerable insults" against its leadership.
"If Obama and Park Geun-Hye believed that they could change our minds with such threats and blackmailing, they can't be more foolish," it intoned.
"In particular, Park Geun-Hye continued to viciously take issue with our dignity, system and nuclear programmes... while meeting with Obama," it said, characterising her remarks as "froth(ing) at the mouth".
"The latest visit by Obama only reaffirmed our long-held belief that might, not words, are the only option to deal with the old enemy US and strengthened our resolve and determination to stick with our policy to fight a full-sale nuclear war.
"Park Geun-Hye will pay a dear price for abandoning the opportunity we earlier gave and choosing a path of anti-unification and anti-peace and a path to confrontation and war."
The latest invective follows months of increasingly colourful personal attacks the North has mounted on Park.
Her predecessor, Lee Myung-Bak, was also the target of highly personal criticism by the North's state media, but the attacks on Park have been notable for their repeated allusions to her gender -- she is Seoul's first woman president.
Pyongyang earlier likened to her a "peasant woman babbling to herself in the corner of her room" and derided her as a "low-quality politician" who talks "nonsense gibberish."
Since assuming office in February 2013, Park has repeatedly spoken of her desire to build trust with Pyongyang, while remaining firm in the face of any provocation from the North.
The policy was not gone down well in Pyongyang, which has angrily rejected her proposal to prepare for unification as an attempt to absorb the North into the South.
Tension further escalated late last month when the two Koreas traded fire across the flashpoint Yellow Sea border.
The North dropped some 100 shells in South Korean waters during a live-fire drill, prompting Seoul to fire back. All shells landed in waters and no one was injured.