North Korea slams 'warmonger' Bolton over missile tests comment

Giving up tests means relinquishing right to self-defence, Pyongyang says in response to US national security adviser.

    US NSA Bolton said sanctions against North Korea should continue [Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters]
    US NSA Bolton said sanctions against North Korea should continue [Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters]

    North Korea has called John Bolton, the NSA of the United States, a "warmonger" and "defective human product" after he said Pyongyang's recent short-range missile tests violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.

    A statement carried on Monday by state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a foreign ministry representative as saying that giving up missile tests would mean giving up the right to self-defence.

    "Demanding us to ban all launches using ballistic technology regardless of range is same with asking us to relinquish our rights for self-defence," the unnamed spokesperson said.

    North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9, ending a pause in launches that began in late 2017, a few months before a landmark summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

    The tests have been seen as a way for Pyongyang to pressure Washington to soften its stance on easing sanctions against it without actually causing the negotiations to collapse.

    The statement issued by KCNA singled out Bolton, who last week said the recent tests "no doubt" violated UN resolutions and that sanctions against North Korea must be kept in place.

    "Bolton should not be called a security adviser who works to secure security, but an adviser for security destruction who destroys peace and security," the ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.

    "It's not that strange that crooked sound will always come out [of] the mouth of a man who is structurally flawed, and it's best that this defective human product goes away as soon as possible."

    Trump's Japan visit

    The statement came as US President Donald Trump continued his visit to Japan for meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the nuclear standoff with North Korea was expected to be high on the agenda.

    Trump said on Sunday he was not worried about the recent missile launch by North Korea - a statement that put him at odds with Bolton.

    In recent weeks, Pyongyang has also strongly protested against the recent US seizure of a North Korean cargo ship that was allegedly involved in banned coal exports and demanded its immediate return.

    North Korea's latest statement also came as South Korea began its annual summertime defence drills involving thousands of civilians and troops that have been modified to exclude large-scale military exercises with the US, which were suspended to create space for diplomacy with Pyongyang.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies