North Korea slams South Korea leader as 'confrontation maniac'

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) - North Korea on Friday accused South Korean President Park Geun Hye of hurting the dignity of its leadership and slammed her as "a confrontation maniac".

The warning came a day after Ms Park denounced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for "playing a gamble to escalate tension" on the Korean peninsula.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, responsible for inter-Korean ties, said Ms Park had attempted to "bar the situation from leading to detente".

If Ms Park continues to slander the North's leadership, she will face "a deadlier retaliation" than what her predecessor did, it said in a statement through state media.

Ms Park said on Thursday that North Korea's new policy of pursuing economic construction and the building of nuclear force together would "never" succeed.

Ms Park "unhesitatingly let loose such malignant invectives as daring hurt the dignity of (the North's) supreme leadership, fully revealing her true colours as a confrontation maniac", the committee said.

"What she uttered is nothing but a reckless provocation made by a mentally deranged person bereft of reason and face," it said.

The North, angered by United Nations sanctions sparked by its nuclear test in February and joint South-US military drills, has stoked tensions for months with blistering threats of nuclear war against Seoul and Washington.

But friction has appeared to ebb since North Korea moved medium-range missiles off their launch sites.

In Beijing, Mr Kim's envoy told China's President Xi Jinping on Friday that Pyongyang is willing to take positive actions to solve problems through dialogue, according to Xinhua news agency.