SEOUL - North Korea lashed out Monday at South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, calling her a reckless "viper" for raising the image of a reign of terror in Pyongyang following the reported purge of the North's defence chief.
"She is making a flurry of reckless remarks to escalate confrontation," the North's official KCNA news agency said in a despatch.
"This reminds people of a viper," it added.
In a speech in Seoul on Friday, Park condemned North Korea's "provocative" behaviour following the recent test of a new ballistic missile, and spoke of a "reign of extreme terror" underway in Pyongyang.
Her comments came after South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported that Pyongyang's defence minister, Hyon Yong-Chol, had been purged and most likely executed.
The agency said it had unverified reports that the execution had been carried out at close range with a high-calibre anti-aircraft gun.
KCNA made no mention of Hyon or his reported fate, but accused Park of "jabbering ... like a sleepwalker".
If confirmed, Hyon's downfall would mark the most high-profile elimination of a top Pyongyang official since the purge and execution of Kim's powerful uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, in December 2013.