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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
N Korea ridicules Rice, Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice
The "rooster" and the "hen"

In what media watchers are calling a first for North Korea, state radio in Pyongyang has turned to the medium of the comic sketch to mock two of the leading figures in the US administration.

In a special weekend feature, actors gave their own dramatised interpretation of apparent political infighting between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The two are presented hurling comic insults at each other as they attempt to win President Bush's favour.

Pyongyang Broadcasting Station announced the sketch by saying it was based on an anecdote it had spotted in a US magazine.

The programme - called "The hen clucks at the White House" - marks the first time the North Korean media have been seen to use a form known as "manp'il", or "comic notes".

'Bitch on the beach'

Ms Rice, who in January included North Korea in a list of six "outposts of tyranny", is introduced as "a hen strutting around in the White House, crowing arrogantly".

Later she is characterised as "a bitch running riot on the beach".

A rooster fighting a hen, instead of a rooster fighting another rooster? I've never seen anything like it.
'President Bush' in N Korea comic sketch

Mr Rumsfeld is portrayed as having ruled the roost during President Bush's first term, but is now little more than an ageing cockerel "keeping a low profile".

And the actor playing Ms Rice brands him "an old crock".

Such is the animosity between the pair that the actor playing President Bush is forced to intervene to prevent feathers flying.

"Just stop it!" he cries out. "A rooster fighting a hen, instead of a rooster fighting another rooster? I've never seen anything like it."

Gems of totalitarian wit
South Korea's Chosun Ilbo

Nevertheless, the script writers appear adamant that the rivalry spells trouble for the Bush administration.

"As the saying goes," concludes the narrator, "when the hen crows and the rooster remains quiet, the house is doomed to ruin."

'Manifestly sexist'

South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper was less than impressed by the broadcast, and went on the counter-attack the next day.

The sketch, it observed sarcastically, was littered with "gems of totalitarian wit".

The paper accused the radio station of attacking Ms Rice "in terms that more enlightened societies would consider manifestly sexist".

It also quoted a South Korean official as saying that "there are vestiges of feudalism in North Korean society, but it's rare for the North to be derogatory to women in public".

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