North Korea says it launched ICBM to warn US, South Korea over drills


North Korea
People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2023. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

North Korea stated that Thursday's launch was its giant Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), fired during a rehearsal to demonstrate a "strong response stance" to current U.S.-South Korea military exercises, according to official media.

Pictures posted by the country's government media on Friday depicted Kim Jong Un watching the launch with his daughter. A camera reportedly captured images from space on the rocket.

North Korea launched the intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before South Korea's president travelled to Tokyo for a conference to discuss countermeasures against the nuclear-armed North.

"The launch exercise of the strategic weapon serves as an opportunity to provide a sterner message to the adversaries who are deliberately increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula and repeatedly resorting to irresponsible and reckless military threats," reported the state-run KCNA.

United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibited the North's ballistic missiles, and Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo governments condemned the launch.

On Monday, South Korean and US soldiers commenced 11 days of joint drills, dubbed "Freedom Shield 23," on a scale not seen since 2017 in response to North Korea's escalating threats.

Kim claimed that the United States and South Korea raised tensions through military exercises.

KCNA claimed that Kim "emphasized the necessity to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies, effectively prevent war, and dependably guarantee the peaceful existence of our people and their struggle for socialist building by irrevocably enhancing the nuclear war deterrent."

China, which has a defence treaty with North Korea, also blamed the United States for the present tensions, citing Washington's efforts to boost pressure on Pyongyang as the cause.

The Hwasong-17 is the world's largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile.

It is estimated to have the potential range to deliver a nuclear warhead to any target in the United States.

The missile was launched from Pyongyang's airfield. According to KCNA, it reached a maximum altitude of 6,045 kilometres (3,751 miles), flew 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) in just over 69 minutes, and fell into the open sea. According to the assessment, the launch did not pose a safety risk to neighbouring nations.

Publish : 2023-03-17 11:13:00

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