North Korea called Japanese officials "political imbeciles" on Saturday for saying they won't accept Pyongyang as a nuclear power, less than a week after it agreed to return to international arms talks.
In typically harsh rhetoric, the reclusive communist state demanded Japan stay away from the negotiations, and also condemned the United States as "fanatic warmongers who destroy peace and security on the Korean Peninsula."
The North agreed earlier this week to return to the international disarmament negotiations -- which also include China, Russia, the US and South Korea -- in the first relaxation of tension after its October 9 nuclear test.
The talks have been stalled for a year. A statement from North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Saturday said "there is no need for Japan to participate in (the talks) as a local delegate because it is no more than a state of the US and it is enough for Tokyo just to be informed of the results of the talks by Washington."
The Foreign Ministry said most of the international community had welcomed North Korea's return to the talks, but that "it is only Japan that expressed its wicked intention," referring to comments by Tokyo that it will not accept a nuclear North Korea.
"The Japanese authorities have thus clearly proved themselves that they are political imbeciles," added the statement, carried by the North's official Korea Central News Agency, or KCNA.
An official from Japan's Foreign Ministry said the government was aware of North Korea's statement, and was considering a response.
The official spoke on a condition of anonymity, citing protocol. Japan is a common target of criticism from the North, stemming from Tokyo's imperial occupation of the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century.
Pyongyang has called before for Japan to be excluded from the nuclear talks.
The North also kept up its verbal attack on the United States in an editorial by the typically bellicose Rodong Sinmun newspaper that was also run by KCNA on Saturday.
"The US has become more fanatic in pushing for its war scheme to attack the North, taking issue with our war-deterrent measure we were compelled to strengthen to protect our sovereignty and right to survive from their serious threat," the editorial said.
The North often refers to its nuclear program as a self-defensive measure against the threat of a US attack -- an accusation Washington has repeatedly denied.
Meanwhile, the North's leader Kim Jong-Il visited an army unit, KCNA reported late Friday, his first public military visit since last month's test and the first known public appearance after the country agreed to return to the arms talks. It was not clear from the report when Kim made the visit.
North Korea's remarks came after the nation's No. 2 leader, Kim Yong Nam, said on Friday that any progress at the revived talks on the communist nation's nuclear program would depend on the United States, an indication that any breakthrough at the negotiations could be difficult.
"Results of the six-party talks depend on the US attitude," Kim Yong Nam said on Friday in Pyongyang, in a meeting with members of South Korea's minor opposition Democratic Labor Party or DLP.
Kim also accused the US of seeking the resumed nuclear talks to bolster the Republicans' popularity ahead of US midterm elections next week, casting doubts on Washington's sincerity in resolving "fundamental problems between North Korea and the US," according to statement on the DLP website.
The North Korean official claimed it was Pyongyang which had proposed returning to the negotiations as a way for the US to save face and not appear to be caving in to the North's demand that the financial issue be discussed, the statement said.
That account contradicts US statements that diplomacy by China, the North's last major ally, had been instrumental in luring the North back to the nuclear talks.