SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is “more than ignorant” to argue that North Korea’s recent missile tests violated U.N. resolutions, the North’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Giving up missile tests would mean giving up the right to self defense, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the state KCNA news agency.
The unidentified spokesman singled out Bolton, who last week said the recent tests “no doubt” violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“His claim is indeed much more than ignorant,” the spokesman said. “Our military drill neither targeted anyone nor endangered the surrounding countries, but Bolton makes dogged claims that it constitutes a violation of the ‘resolutions’, impudently poking his nose into other’s internal matters.”
Bolton, a regular target of North Korean criticism, is more of a “security-destroying adviser” than a security adviser, the spokesman added.
“It is not at all strange that perverse words always come out from the mouth of a structurally defective guy,” the spokesman said.
Earlier in May, North Korean military forces test fired several rockets and missiles, including several guided missiles that experts said could be used to penetrate South Korean and American defenses.
The missiles flew on a flattened, lower-altitude trajectory, leading some officials in South Korea to question whether the weapons should be categorized as “ballistic missiles” and therefore a likely violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea.
The White House has played down the tests, with U.S. President Donald Trump saying they were short range and therefore not a breach of trust by leader Kim Jong Un.
An official at South Korea’s presidential Blue House told reporters on Monday a joint analysis with the United States was still under way to assess the missile tests.
But others, including the Japanese government and Bolton have said the tests were clear violations of the U.N. resolutions.
During a visit to Japan on Monday, Trump alluded to Bolton’s views and said he disagreed.
“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know,” Trump told a news conference.
“I view it differently – I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. Perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests, no ballistic missiles going out, no long-range missiles going out. And I think that some day we’ll have a deal.”
The North Korean spokesman said in the KCNA statement that “whatever is launched is bound to fly drawing a ballistic trajectory”.
“What the U.S. is taking the issue is not about the range but the prohibition of the launch itself using ballistic technology,” the North Korean ministry spokesman said.
“This is, after all, tantamount to a demand that the DPRK should give up its self-defensive right,” he said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea has never recognized the legality of the resolutions barring its development and testing of ballistic missiles, he said.
“As for the UNSC ‘resolutions’ which Bolton recklessly referred to .... those ‘resolutions’ are illegal and outrageous ones that completely deny the rights to existence and development of a sovereign state,” he said.
Bolton is known as an anti-North Korea “war maniac” who “fabricated various provocative policies such as designation of our country as ‘axis of evil’, preemptive strike and regime change”, the spokesman said.
Last year, Kim said his nuclear force was complete and that he would no longer test nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles. Over the past year, Kim has met Trump twice in a bid to end the stalemate over the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Reporting by Josh Smith. Additional reporting by Jack Kim and Hayoung Choi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Robert Birsel