North Korea calls South Korea's President Park Geun Hye a 'psychopath' over missile row

South Korean President Park Geun Hye giving a speech to mark Liberation Day at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, South Korea on August 15. PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea on Wednesday (Aug 17) labelled South Korean President Park Geun Hye a "psychopath" after she made a speech slamming Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions and defending the deployment of a United States anti-missile system.

In her televised address on Monday, Ms Park had stressed that deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was an act of "self-defence" in response to the North's expanding nuclear weapons programme.

A spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said Ms Park's argument was "preposterous" and unfounded. "This is just a lame excuse and she should know that no one will be taken in by such sophism of a puppet that can do nothing without an approval of her US master," the spokesman said.

"This is no more than nonsense talked by a psychopath," he added in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.

North Korea has threatened to take "physical action" against the THAAD deployment, saying any South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military hardware would become a target.

Beijing is also opposed to the move, seeing it as a US bid to flex its military muscle in the region and undermine China's own missile capabilities.

US Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, addressed those concerns during talks on Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng in Beijing.

THAAD is "not a threat in any way to China", Gen Milley told Gen Li, according to a US Army statement.

Deploying the system "is a defensive measure to protect South Koreans and Americans from the North Korean ballistic missile threat", he added.

Gen Milley was due to hold talks with top South Korean military officials in Seoul on Wednesday.

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