North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to act “resolutely” and use a nuclear bomb in the event of a nuclear attack on his country, North Korean agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
Kim said he personally supervised Friday’s missile launch, quoted by KCNA as saying that Pyongyang “will resolutely respond to nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons and all-out confrontation.”
The United States, South Korea and Japan have stepped up joint military maneuvers in recent months since Kim Jong Un declared in September that North Korea’s denuclearization was “irreversible.”
Notably, Seoul and Washington held the largest joint air drills in their history in late October and early November.
But North Korea sees these military displays as a general rehearsal for an invasion of its territory or an attempt to overthrow the regime.
KCNA reported that Kim attended the launch “with his beloved daughter and wife”. State media showed Kim walking past a giant missile with a little girl in a puffer jacket and red shoes.
It is rare for state media to mention the North Korean leader’s children, and experts say this could be one of the first official confirmations of his daughter’s existence.
KCNA said Friday’s test was of North Korea’s “new type of ICBM,” the Hwasong-17, and that “the test firing clearly demonstrated the reliability of this new weapon system.”
“Kim Jong Un said he came to confirm that the DPRK’s nuclear forces have regained a new credible maximum capability to contain any nuclear threat,” KCNA added, adding that the DPRK. Using an abbreviation of North Korea’s official name.
North Korea’s National News Agency said the missile “reached a maximum altitude of 6,040.9 km and traveled a distance of 999.2 km” and “precisely landed in a pre-defined area” in the sea.The East or Sea of Japan.
Competing estimates of the range and altitude provided by Seoul and Tokyo on Friday were slightly less than the ICBM fired by Pyongyang on March 24, in what appears to be the North’s most powerful test yet.
North Korea had already said on March 24 that it had test-fired the Hwasong-17 — one of Pyongyang’s most powerful weapons and dubbed a “monster missile” by military analysts — but Seoul cast doubt on the assertion.
This time, the North seems to have won, say analysts.
Pyongyang unleashed an unprecedented series of missile strikes in early November, one of which landed near South Korean waters.
November 2 alone saw 23 North Korean missile launches, more than in 2017, when leader Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump threatened each other with nuclear annihilation.
In September and October, Pyongyang has already launched numerous missiles, including one that flew over Japan for the first time in five years.
According to Sue Kim, a former analyst at the US intelligence agency CIA, Friday’s launch is “a testament to the permanence of the Kim regime’s weapons program because it is for its own survival and the continuation of the regime. His family”.
“It partly answers the questions around succession,” the analyst, now at the RAND Corporation, told AFP.
“We have seen with our own eyes the fourth generation of Kims. And his daughter – as well as other potential siblings – will certainly be groomed by her father,” he noted.