Trump balks at North Korea’s rhetoric but it has used worse

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — When North Korea slammed U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton, its language was very blunt and impolite, but still milder than its typical crude and inflammatory insults unleased on other top U.S. and South Korean officials.

The North likely had just tried to strengthen its positions amid negotiations on giving up its nuclear program.

But calling Pence a “political dummy” was still strong enough for President Donald Trump to scrap the June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, at a time he faced pessimism at home about Kim’s sincerity.

Apparently startled at Trump’s abrupt move, a senior North Korean official who touched off recent rhetorical attacks on Washington issued an unusually conciliatory statement Friday saying the North still wants to engage with the United States.