(dpa) - North Korea on Tuesday attacked new South Korean President Lee Myung Bak, warning him that his get-tough approach toward Pyongyang would have "irrevocable catastrophic consequences" on relations between the two countries.
A commentary in the official Rodong Shinmun newspaper called Lee a "traitor" and accused him of "sycophancy towards the United States."
Lee was also accused of engaging in an anti-North Korea policy in the North Korean media's first direct attack on Lee since he was elected in December.
"Lee Myung Bak should not misjudge the patience and silence so far kept by the DPRK," the commentary by an unnamed writer said, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"The Lee regime will be held fully accountable for the irrevocable catastrophic consequences to be entailed by the freezing of inter-Korean relations and the disturbance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula due to its sycophancy towards the United States and its moves for confrontation with the North," it added.
Relations between South Korea, which has Asia's second-largest economy, and its impoverished totalitarian neighbour have cooled since Lee's government took office in Seoul in February.
The conservative Lee, who took power after two previous liberal administrations that carried out a rapprochement policy with Pyongyang, has linked progress by North Korea on its denuclearization with an expansion of its economic ties with South Korea, angering Pyongyang.
This week, North Korea accused the South of planning a pre-emptive strike against its neighbour. The North threatened to end their dialogue and turn South Korea "into ashes" if there was a pre-emptive attack. Seoul has denied planning such a strike.
Last week, North Korea expelled 11 South Korean officials from the inter-Korean industrial zone at Kaesong and threatened to halt work on disabling its nuclear facilities after South Korean and US officials indicated patience was running out over stalled nuclear talks with Pyongyang.