'Prostitute' jibe as Koreas clash
South Korea has expressed outrage over an attack on its president by the North Korean government that likened her to a prostitute.
The tirade against Park Geun-hye far exceeded even the North's often strident standards.
The statement issued by the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea expressed anger over US president Barack Obama's visit to Seoul last week.
It said Ms Park was like a "despicable prostitute" with Mr Obama as her pimp.
The North's officials and state-run media frequently use inflammatory rhetoric. They have called past South Korean presidents dogs, but have shown a particular penchant for insulting Ms Park with sexist slurs.
"She thus laid bare her despicable true colours as a wicked sycophant and traitor, a dirty comfort woman for the US and despicable prostitute selling off the nation," said the statement.
It was carried by the North's state-run media on Sunday and broadcast on nationwide television today.
In a statement of its own, South Korea's Unification Ministry strongly criticised the comments, saying they were immoral and contained words that were unacceptable.
It also noted North Korea just two months ago called for both Koreas to stop slandering each other.
At a joint news conference with Ms Park, Mr Obama said it may be time to consider further sanctions against North Korea "that have even more bite".
South Korean officials have warned the North could be preparing for its fourth nuclear test. Ms Park said the North is "fully ready now" to conduct another nuclear test.
"Obama's visit to South Korea sends a strong message to North Korea that its provocative acts cannot be tolerated," she said.
The North's barrage against Ms Park was particularly ill-timed as it comes as her government is dealing with the tragedy of a ferry sinking that has left hundreds dead or missing.
The statement slammed Mr Obama for going to Seoul at such a time, saying he should have postponed or shelved his trip.