North Korea Mocks Japan for Rocket Test Reaction: 'As if a Nuclear Bomb Was Dropped' on You

North Korea has issued a scathing statement mocking Japan's condemnation of recent rocket and missile tests by insulting the country's leader and evoking its painful history of nuclear warfare.

In a statement carried Thursday by the official Korean Central News Agency, North Korean Foreign Ministry ambassador Song Il Ho reacted to Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's reaction at a gathering of Southeast Asian nations to North Korea's test last week of "a super-large multiple rocket launcher." Abe characterized this launch and other short-range weapons tests as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions—which North Korea does not recognize.

"Abe, prime minister of Japan, is an idiot and villain as he is making fuss as if a nuclear bomb was dropped on the land of Japan, taking issue with the DPRK's test-fire of super-large multiple rocket launchers," Song said, using an abbreviation for North Korea's official name.

Song further derided Abe as "a base politician" and "a rarely ignorant man who dreams of making Japan a military power, though he is not able to distinguish multiple rocket launchers from missiles." He went on to refer to the head of state as "deformed," "base," "rude," "immoral" and a "dwarf" as well, claiming Japan was considered a "politically small nation," a "sinking island country" and a "gloomy, desolate country" as it was excluded from a new era in North Korean diplomacy.

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North Korea's Korean People's Army tests what was described as a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" on October 31. North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un has overseen a months-long series of short-range weapons tests as a denuclearization-for-peace process stalled and U.S.-South Korea military exercises continued. Korean Central News Agency

Japan and Korea's history far predate the modern politics of Northeast Asia, but the 20th century saw vast changed that would come to define their relations. The Japanese Empire's occupation of the Korean Peninsula would scar its inhabitants, while the Allied victory in World War II and subsequent division of the two Koreas by rivals the U.S. and the Soviet Union paved the way for the Cold War that brought Japan and South Korea into the Western fold and established North Korea as a communist, militarized state.

In defeating Japan, however, the U.S. launched the world's first atomic attack on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing up to 250,000 people in a display that would lead other powers to pursue such weapons of mass destruction. One of them was North Korea, whose last nuclear test two years ago yielded an explosion several times more powerful than those that struck Japan in 1945.

While Tokyo and Seoul today have remained robust Asia-Pacific allies of Washington in the decades since the war, their own relations were frayed this year as a disagreement over compulsory wartime labor compensation devolved into a trade dispute and the severing of intelligence ties. Pyongyang has only accelerated its criticism of its former colonizer throughout this row.

As North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un courted President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a year-and-a-half-long series of talks surrounding a denuclearization-for-peace deal, Abe has been notably left out. The Japanese leader made a leap earlier this year in declaring his willingness to meet Kim "without conditions" revolving the settlement of cases of Japanese nationals said to have been abducted by North Korea, but little visible progress has been made on this front.

"We need to think about North Korea's incentives to restart and open the door for negotiations with Japan," a Japanese Foreign Ministry official recently told Newsweek. "This is the first time the leader of North Korea has a direct line to the president of the United States, there's no rush to enter into negotiations with Japan."

"North Korea's main goals are security and lifting sanctions, it's quite obvious these are issues only the U.S. could address," the official added, characterizing Trump's leniency as "tactical," though Japanese officials "do feel some concern when we see Trump's tweets in the middle of the night and early morning."

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo attends the 22nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three Summit in Bangkok, November 4, on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit. Japan has come out strongly against North Korea rocket and missile launches off the waters that separate the two longtime foes. AFP/Getty Images/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Meanwhile, North Korea has continued to test new weapons, firing them into the waters between the peninsula and Japan in response to stalls in dialogue and continued U.S.–South Korea military exercises. Tokyo has lodged major protests, while Seoul's criticism was more muted and Washington was especially tolerant.

"We are still working diligently to execute what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to now in June of a year ago to try and get North Korea to denuclearize," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Mid-America Network a day after the test. "It's an important mission for the world. The entire world came together around a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions."

"Chairman Kim then made this commitment that said he would denuclearize, and we are working to negotiate that outcome," he added. "The progress has been far too slow. I'm hopeful that we can continue to work on this project and get a good outcome in the months ahead."

For the second time, however, no mention was made by North Korean state-run media of Kim himself attending the latest launch in what may be a strategy to dampen international reaction. The Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim had received the result before he then "expressed satisfaction over it and sent congratulations to the national defense scientists who are devotedly struggling for developing the self-defensive military muscle of the country and bolstering up its armed forces."

"The perfection of the continuous fire system was verified through the test-fire to totally destroy with super-power the group target of the enemy and designated target area by surprise strike of the weapon system of super-large multiple rocket launchers," the report added.