(CNSNews.com) – Sen. John McCain’s characterization of Kim Jong-un as a “crazy fat kid” drew a sharp response this week from Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, which called the remark “a grave provocation little short of declaration of war.”
In a statement released through the regime’s official KCNA news agency, the ministry lumped McCain’s comment with Sen. Ted Cruz’ sponsorship of legislation aimed at returning North Korea to the state-sponsor of terrorism list.
In a March 22 MSNBC interview, Armed Services Committee chairman McCain (R-Ariz.) said that “China is the only one that can control Kim Jong-un, this crazy fat kid that’s running North Korea.”
“They could stop North Korea’s economy in a week,” he said, adding that the Chinese have to understand that there will be a penalty, imposed by the U.S., “if they don’t rein in an individual that can literally start a world war – and more importantly perhaps in the short term, strike the United States of America.”
McCain said Kim Jong-un is not rational. “We’re not dealing with, even with someone like Joseph Stalin, who had a certain rationality to his barbarity.”
The foreign ministry accused McCain of hurting North Korea’s “dignity” and said Cruz’ legislation demonstrated hostility.
“What they uttered to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK is just a manifestation of their worst hostility toward the DPRK’s ideology and social system and its people and a grave provocation little short of declaration of war against it,” it said.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the formal name for the Stalinist regime ruled by the Kim dynasty for the past seven decades.
The ministry said the people and military personnel of North Korea regard the dignity of their leadership “as their life and soul” and “the U.S. must know very well about how they react to any offensive acts against it.”
It added that “John McCain and Ted Cruz made a provocation tantamount to declaration of war against the DPRK. The DPRK will take steps to counter it.”
Responding to North Korea’s criticism, McCain tweeted on Wednesday, “What, did they want me to call him a crazy skinny kid?”
Cruz (R-Texas) recently introduced the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act (S.672), which requires the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress stating whether North Korea meets the criteria for state-sponsor of terrorism designation.
With nine Republican co-sponsors, it was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up a bill of its own (H.R.479), sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)
The Bush administration removed North Korea from the state-sponsor of terrorism list in 2008, in response to progress in nuclear talks that quickly evaporated.
Since then, the regime has been implicated in a number of incidents seen to meet the definition of terrorism under U.S. law, including shipments of weapons allegedly headed for terrorists in the Middle East and plots to assassinate defectors.
Last month, Kim Jong-un’s estranged and exiled half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, died after being exposed at Kuala Lumpur international airport to VX, a deadly nerve agent.
Cruz’ bill cites the case, and notes that “South Korean and Malaysian authorities have alleged that officials from North Korea’s secret police and Foreign Ministry were involved in the poisoning and killing.”