North Korea calls Japanese PM Shinzo Abe 'imbecile' and 'political dwarf' in row over missiles

Phillip Whiteside, news reporter

North Korea has mocked Japan's prime minister in a row over missiles, calling him an "imbecile and political dwarf" and an "idiot".

The insults came after two short-range projectiles were fired into the sea off the North Korean east coast.

Pyongyang says it carried out a rocket launcher test - but Japanese PM Shinzo Abe described it as a missile test.

Supreme leader Kim Jong Un is said to have expressed "great satisfaction" over the fourth test of the "super-large" multiple-rocket launcher.

KCNA news agency said: "It can be said 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 while seeing the photo-accompanied report.

"Abe may see what a real ballistic missile is in the not distant future and under his nose... Abe is none other than a perfect imbecile and a political dwarf without parallel in the world."

Some experts said the distance and trajectory of the projectiles showed they were virtually missiles or missile-classed weapons.

The projectiles, which were launched on Thursday, flew about 380km (235 miles) at a maximum altitude of 97km (60 miles), according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

UN Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from firing ballistic missiles and or attempting to build them.

Mr Abe said the launch was a threat to Japan and the international community.

He said: "Multiple missile launches by North Korea are a serious challenge not only for Japan, but also international society.

"We will remain in close contact with the United States, South Korea and the international community to monitor the
situation. We will increase our vigilance to preserve the safety and assets of the Japanese people," he said.