North Korea suggested Saturday it may again fire a ballistic missile over Japan, two days after it test-fired what it called a "multiple launch rocket system," criticizing Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe as "a perfect imbecile."
The suggestion came two days after North Korea, according to South Korea's military, fired two short-range projectiles from what is believed to be a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" into waters off its east coast.
Japan has concluded that it was a ballistic missile launch in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, but South Korea and the United States have yet to publicly confirm that.
"Abe is the only one idiot in the world and the most stupid man ever known in history as he fails to distinguish a missile from multiple launch rocket system," a North Korean official said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"Abe may see what a real ballistic missile is in the not distant future and under his nose," said the unnamed vice director general in charge of Japanese affairs at North Korea's Foreign Ministry.
"Abe would be well-advised to distinguish multiple launch rocket from a ballistic missile. Abe is none other than a perfect imbecile and a political dwarf without parallel in the world. Pyongyang estimates such thing as Abe so much," the official said.
On Thursday, Abe's government held a meeting of the National Security Council at his office in Tokyo involving other Cabinet ministers and lambasted the launches, calling them a "grave challenge to the international community."
The projectiles were fired at around 4:59 p.m. on Thursday from the Yeonpo area of South Hamgyong Province toward the Sea of Japan and flew about 380 kilometers, South Korea said.
It represented the 13th time since May that North Korea has launched projectiles of any type, including what are thought to be ballistic missiles. The Security Council resolutions ban Pyongyang from developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
In 2017, the North fired two ballistic missiles over Japan.
Recently, North Korea has warned it may restart nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests unless negotiations with the United States over denuclearization move forward by the end of this year.
Pyongyang might be preparing to fire medium-range ballistic missiles with enough range of Japan in the near future, a Japanese government source said.
Since earlier this year, meanwhile, Abe has expressed eagerness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "without conditions" in hopes of making a breakthrough over the issue of Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
North Korea, however, has shown no sign of holding a summit between the two countries.
In early November, North Korea's top negotiator on normalizing ties with Japan said Abe "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."
DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Ambassador Song Il Ho was also quoted as saying by state-run media, "Abe would be well-advised not to dream forever of crossing the threshold of Pyongyang as he hurled a torrent of abuse at the just measures of the DPRK for self-defense."
Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.