SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea on Thursday called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a moron who should not even dream of setting foot in Pyongyang in a state media commentary laden with insults in response to his criticism of the North’s latest weapons test.
North Korea conducted a test of what it called “super-large multiple rocket launchers” on Oct. 31, but Japan said they were likely ballistic missiles that violated U.N. sanctions.
Abe condemned the test at an Asian summit this week, while saying he was eager to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “without conditions” to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the isolated state, Kyodo news agency reported citing the Japanese government.
“Japanese Prime Minister Abe, who is now making such a fuss over our super-large multiple rocket launcher test-fire as if a nuclear warhead had fallen on Japanese soil, is a moron,” the North’s KCNA news agency said, citing a statement by Song Il Ho, its ambassador for ties with Japan.
“Abe, who has been making ill-advised remarks about our legitimate self-defence measures by recklessly wagging his tongue … should not even dream of crossing the Pyongyang threshold ever.”
In 2002, North Korea admitted that its agents had kidnapped 13 Japanese from the 1960s to the 1980s. Japan says 17 of its citizens were abducted, five of whom were repatriated.
North Korea has said eight of them were dead and another four never entered the country.
Abe has vowed to pursue the issue until all of the abductees come home and said previously that he was willing to meet Kim without conditions.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Pyongyang in 2002 and met the father of the current North Korean leader but Abe has never met Kim.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel)