The United States, South Korea and the United Nations all condemned the North’s missile launches, the first of their kind in a year, as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
On Saturday, Ri Pyong Chol, a top deputy to Kim Jong Un, called President Joe Biden’s criticism of the North’s missile tests a provocation and encroachment on the North’s right to self-defense. Ri said it was “gangster-like logic” for Washington to criticize the North’s launches while the U.S. freely tested intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korea has a history of using colorfully harsh insults against rivals.
Before entering now-stalled nuclear talks with the United States in 2018, Kim Jong Un called then-President Donald Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard” after Trump called him a “little rocket man.”
In 2019, North Korea called Biden, then a presidential hopeful, a “rabid dog” and a “fool of low IQ” when it criticized his comments about its leadership.
Some experts say North Korea’s recent missile launches and tough language are meant to increase pressure on the Biden administration as it’s shaping its policy on North Korea. They say North Korea eventually wants the United States to relax sanctions on the North while accepting it as a nuclear weapons state.