N Korea blasts 'silly wordplay' by Lee
Seoul - North Korea on Friday blasted what it called "silly wordplay" by South Korea's president Lee Myung-Bak and reiterated that it would never have dealings with his conservative government.
The North has vowed no change in its policies since Kim Jong-Un took over as leader from his father Kim Jong-Il, who died on December 17.
It has threatened unspecified retaliation against Seoul's rulers for alleged insults during the mourning period for Kim.
Lee said in a New Year address on Monday that the divided peninsula is at a turning point after the death, with the possibility of big change and "a window of opportunity" to improve icy relations.
But he vowed to hit back hard against any provocations from the North under its young new chief. Lee also said six-nation nuclear disarmament talks could resume when Pyongyang halts its atomic activities.
North Korea's ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said it was an "intolerable insult" to expect change.
Any change on the peninsula would take place in the South, "where the conservative regime will collapse like a castle on the sand in the near future after facing a severe punishment by the angry public".
South Korea will hold a general election in April and a presidential poll in December. Lee is constitutionally barred from a second term.
"What remains to be done between the North and the South is to finally settle accounts with the puppet group which has committed crimes against the nation," Rodong Sinmun said.
"The Lee group would be well advised to stop its silly wordplay and apologise to the nation for its big treason, with its knees bent."
Seoul expressed sympathy to the North's people but not its regime over Kim's death and allowed just two private mourning delegations to visit Pyongyang. It did not send an official delegation.