North Korea has pledged to “respond decisively” to the US threat of using nuclear weapons with its own nuclear capabilities.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed hours later to use nuclear weapons to face threats from the United States testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB), the latest escalation as the UN Security Council prepares for an emergency session on Pyongyang’s actions.
The United Nations Security Council will meet on Monday, at the behest of Japan, South Korea and the US, to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch.
North Korea test fired what he believed to be a Hwasong-17 ICBMwhich can travel up to 15,000 km (9,320 mi), on Friday shortly after warning of “fierce military responses” to Washington.
“Kim Jong Un has solemnly declared that if the enemies continue to pose threats … our party and government will respond decisively to nuclear weapons and to all-out confrontation,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday. .
KCNA said the Hwasong-17 launched Friday was aimed at achieving “the most powerful and absolute nuclear deterrent” and described the missile as “the world’s strongest strategic weapon”.
North Korea has long defended ballistic missile launches as a legitimate defense against what it calls decades old threat from US forces and its allies in South Korea.
Kim was accompanied by his daughter in her first public appearance as he inspected a missile launch site on Friday. Towed by military officials and personnel, Kim and his daughter walked hand in hand through the ICBM launch site where they stopped to observe military hardware and multiple ICBMs.
Commenting on Friday’s launch, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country had “made a strong protest against North Korea, which has repeated its provocations with unprecedented frequency.”
“We have told (Pyongyang) that we absolutely cannot tolerate such actions,” Kishida said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand.
KCNA said the missile flew nearly 1,000 km (621 mi) for about 69 minutes and reached a peak altitude of 6,041 km (3,754 mi).
Kim hailed the test launch as a success, declaring it as a confirmation of North Korea’s “maximum capacity to contain any nuclear threat” and a warning to the administration of US President Joe Biden and allies that any military provocation could lead to their “self-destruction”. would cause, KCNA reported. .
“Our party and government must clearly demonstrate their strongest will to retaliate for the enemies’ hysterical aggression war drills,” Kim said, according to KCNA.
Friday’s ICBM launch and saber-rattling statements come just days after Biden pressured Chinese President Xi Jinping into their first face-to-face meeting during the G20 talks in Bali to announce to Kim that Washington would not accept his “long-range nuclear tests”.
Biden promised a “defensive” response to “send a clear message to North Korea” if Xi failed to rein in Pyongyang. Biden has not yet directly targeted North Korea’s ICBM test on Friday.
“We are aware of the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch and are in close consultation with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners,” the US Department of Defense said in a statement to Al Jazeera.
“The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from further unlawful and destabilizing acts. While we have determined that this event poses no immediate threat to US personnel, or to the territory, or to our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation. US commitments to the defense of the ROK and Japan remain rock solid.”
The official name of North Korea is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).