FILE – In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a lecture at the North Korean Central Officers Training School on October 17, 2022. Distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korea Central News Agency/Korea News Agency AP, file)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said a test of a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile would give his country another “reliable and maximum-capacity” weapon to contain external threats. Saying they have been confirmed to have, the US and state media told its allies on Saturday that their alleged provocative actions would lead to “their self-destruction.”
North Korean state media reported that Kim oversaw the launch of the Hwasong-17 missile. This came a day after neighboring countries said they had detected an intercontinental ballistic missile launch that indicated the United States’ potential ability to reach anywhere.
North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim attended the launch with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, their “beloved daughter,” and senior officials. Photos in state media show Kim walking hand-in-hand with his daughter in a white jacket and red shoes as they look at a huge missile mounted on a rocket. This is the first time North Korea has released a photo of Kim’s daughter. Observers say Kim’s observation of the weapon firing with his family suggests he was confident in its success.
Kim, 38, is the third generation in a family that rules North Korea. South Korean media reported that his three children were born in 2010, 2013 and 2017 respectively. The child he took to the launch site was not immediately recognizable.
Much of Kim’s personal life is still unknown, but after visiting Pyongyang in 2013, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman told British newspaper The Guardian that he and Kim “relaxed by the sea with the leader’s family. I spent some time with him.” He held Kim’s baby daughter named Joo Ae.
Friday’s launch was part of a series of North Korea’s ongoing missile tests, seen as an attempt to expand North Korea’s arsenal and boost its influence in future diplomacy. House said the Hwasong-17 missile, which is still under development, is North Korea’s longest-range ballistic weapon designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat US missile defense systems.
According to KCNA, the missile launched from Pyongyang International Airport flew to a maximum altitude of about 6,040 kilometers (3,750 miles) and flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before reaching a preset location in the high seas off the eastern coast of the country. landed in the area coast.
“The test launch clearly proved the reliability of the new major strategic weapon system representing the (North Korean) strategic force and its strong combat performance as the world’s most powerful strategic weapon,” KCNA said.
Kim said his country is being forced to further build up its “overwhelming nuclear deterrent” as US-led military threats become more transparent. Kim stressed the need to make the United States and its allies aware that military measures against North Korea “will lead to their self-destruction.”
“Chairman Kim Jong-un solemnly urged that if the enemy continues to pose a threat to North Korea and frequently introduces nuclear attack means, our party and government will resolutely respond to nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons and face them head-on in a full-scale confrontation. declared,” KCNA said.
Kim’s statement suggests North Korea will continue its weapons testing activities as the United States pushes to strengthen its security commitments to its allies South Korea and Japan.