North Korea took its first official swipe at South Korea's new president today, employing a well-known sexist phrase to paint Park Geun-Hye as overbearing and manipulative.
A lengthy statement attributed to a spokesman of the Armed Forces Ministry said South Korean officials were engaging
in a round of "warmongering" orchestrated by the "poisonous swish" of the president's skirt.
The statement did not actually use Park's name or title, referring to her only as the current "owner" of the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
"Swish of the skirt" (or "chima baram") is a common, derogatory Korean term used to criticise women seen as overly bossy or domineering.
North Korea's propaganda machine had slammed Park repeatedly during the presidential campaign, warning that she would adopt the dictatorial methods of her father, the late military strongman Park Chung-Hee.
But today's official comment was the first since she was sworn in a little more than two weeks ago as the first female president of what remains a largely male-dominated country.
It also slammed recent comments by Park -- that the North's obsession with nuclear weapons would bring about its own collapse -- as "utter ignorance".
Handling North Korea is a major challenge for any South Korean president and, in many cases, has been the issue by which their entire presidency is defined.
Park had campaigned on a promise of greater engagement with the North, but just two weeks into her term is facing threats from Pyongyang to unleash a second Korean War backed by nuclear weapons.
Addressing a lunch function on today, Park made no mention of the sexist slight and stressed her total commitment to ensuring national security.
"I will certainly safeguard the security of the Republic of Korea and its people no matter what sacrifices it takes," Park said, using the South's official name.
"North Korea's nuclear programmes are unacceptable and we will respond thoroughly to provocations," she said, while adding that she was not ready to give up her campaign pledge to build more trust between North and South.