This article originally appeared on VICE US.
North Korea came out swinging Monday morning, declaring U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton “ignorant,” "a warmonger" and “a defective human product.”
The fiery comments, made by an unnamed spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, were a response to Bolton’s claim on Saturday that North Korea’s recent short-range missile tests violated U.N. Security Council sanctions.
The spokesman said that Bolton’s demand for a ban on all launches using ballistic technology “is the same as asking us to relinquish our rights for self-defense.”
The official also highlighted Bolton’s hard-line approach to U.S.-North Korea relations, blaming his “hammer act” for the collapse of a major nuclear deal in 1994, when the North agreed to halt its nuclear program in exchange for U.S. fuel aid.
“Bolton should not be called a security adviser who works to secure security, but an adviser for security destruction who destroys peace and security," the editorial said. “It's not that strange that crooked sound will always come out the mouth of a man who is structurally flawed, and it's best that this defective human product goes away as soon as possible.”
But Pyongyang wasn't the only one disagreeing with Bolton. Just hours earlier, President Trump said he wasn't personally bothered by the missile launches and viewed them as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un trying “to get attention.”
In a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump struck a very conciliatory tone, hailing Kim as “a very smart man.”
“We continue to hope that Chairman Kim seizes the opportunity to transform his country through denuclearization. It is a country with tremendous economic and other potentials," Trump said.
Abe, standing next to Trump, disagreed with his guest, saying the missile tests violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and were “of great regret.”
Talks between Pyongyang and Washington have been stalled since February’s Hanoi summit between the two leaders, when Trump walked away from the negotiating table.
But, there is at least one topic on which the two leaders can agree: Joe Biden’s intellect.
Kim recently slammed the Democratic primary front-runner as a “fool of low IQ”, after Biden called the North Korean leader a dictator and a tyrant. In a tweet, Trump seconded Kim’s insult of his potential presidential rival, and at the press conference with Abe, he repeated it.
“Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual,” Trump said. “I probably agree with him on that.”
Cover: U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks to reporters as he visits Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office in Tokyo on May 24, 2019. (Kyodo via AP Images)