North Korea Calls Bush A 'Moral Leper'

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

( - North Korea's government officially reacted Friday to President Bush's comments about that country being a growing threat, along with Iran and Iraq, because they pursue weapons of mass destruction.

The North Korean government condemned what it called the "moral leprosy" of President George W. Bush and said the communist state was powerfully equipped for any conflict.

In the first official reaction to Bush's comments in his State of the Union address, a Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman said: "We are sharply watching the disturbing moves of the United States that has pushed the situation to the brink of war."

According to wire reports, the Korean Central News Agency said the United States had become a terrorist target because of Bush. The foreign ministry spokesman said the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington and scandals such as the collapse of the U.S. energy giant Enron were "entirely attributable to the unilateral and self-opinionated foreign policy, political immaturity and moral leprosy of the Bush administration."

In a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Bush labeled North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" and said North Korea was building weapons of mass destruction while letting its people starve.

He warned the three nations could become targets of the U.S. war on terrorism unless they end support for extremist groups and curtail the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Pyongyang spokesman said Bush's comments justified the communist North's anti-U.S. stand.

Bush's national security advisor Condoleeza Rice kept up that theme during a speech Thursday to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Arlington, Va.

"The president is calling on the world, on our friends, and our allies to join us in preventing these regimes from developing and deploying these weapons, either directly or through stateless terrorists' service. This is a serious matter and requires a serious response," said Rice.

"North Korea is now the world's number one merchant for ballistic missiles. It's open for business with anyone no matter how maligned the buyers' intentions. The United States has offered a road map for reciprocal steps that would enable North Korea to take a better course. We have had no serious response," said Rice.

See Earlier Story:
Bush's 'Axis Of Evil' Remarks Resonate In Korea, North And South (Jan. 30, 2002)