North Korea has confirmed reports of the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Reuters reported on Tuesday. As Kim Jong Un said, quoted by North Korea’s KCNA news agency, the missile launch is a “clear signal to hostile forces” and the tests “showed North Korea’s overwhelming strength.”
North Korean state media reported that the leader Kim Jong Un observed Monday’s launch of a Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a site east of Pyongyang. The missile reached an altitude of 6,518 km, flew 1,002 km and precisely hit the intended target, an empty piece of sea – Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing state-owned North Korean media.
“A clear signal to hostile forces”
According to state news agency KCNA, Kim Jong Un said the missile launch was a “clear signal to hostile forces that are fueling the reckless hysteria of military confrontation” against the North. The North Korean leader also said the tests “showed the overwhelming power of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Kim Jong Un also presented “several new important tasks aimed at accelerating the development of North Korea’s nuclear strategic forces,” KCNA reported, without revealing details.
Security Council UN is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at the request of the United States and other countries to discuss the missile launch, Reuters reported.
Fifth ICBM attempt
South Korea’s Yonhap Agency, citing a statement from the country’s military, reported on Monday that this was the fifth ICBM test conducted by North Korea this year, marking a record year in this respect.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported on Monday that it had detected a long-range missile fired from Pyongyang or its vicinity at 8.24 a.m. Korean time (24 minutes after midnight Polish time). No additional details were provided.
The previous missile, fired by Pyongyang on Sunday evening, was assessed by the South Korean military as a short-range missile.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense also announced the detection of another North Korean missile, assessing that it was most likely a ballistic missile. The government in Tokyo has called an emergency meeting of officials from some ministries, NHK reported.
United States, Japan and South Korea said Tuesday that it has fully activated a system to detect and assess North Korea’s missile launches in real time and is conducting more trilateral military exercises.
An expression of protest
Commentators believe that the resumption of missile tests after a break of almost a month may be an expression of protest against the tightening cooperation between South Korea and the United States in the face of the growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang.
On Sunday, North Korea’s Ministry of Defense condemned talks between the US and South Korea on nuclear deterrence, calling them an “open declaration of nuclear confrontation.” It also threatened “offensive retaliatory measures.”
Relations on the Korean Peninsula have been tense since North Korea put its first spy satellite into orbit in November. Seoul responded by partially suspending the bilateral agreement on easing military tensions, to which Pyongyang responded by completely withdrawing from the agreement and announcing the deployment of weapons along the border.
The United States warned North Korea on Saturday that any nuclear attack on the United States or its allies would be met with a “swift, overwhelming and decisive response” and would mean “the end of Kim Jong Un’s regime.”
Main photo source: Reuters