SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea says it has tested its largest intercontinental ballistic missile to date, following Kim Jong Un’s announcement in a “ready time” pledge to expand his country’s “nuclear war deterrence” after the United States imposed tough UN sanctions on Friday. Called. Protracted conflict with the United States.
North Korea’s state media reported the North’s first long-range test since 2017, and South Korea and Japan said they had identified it. Thursday’s launch extends a barrage of weapons displays this year that analysts say are aimed at forcing the United States to accept North Korea as a nuclear power and lift crippling sanctions against its shattered economy.
At a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States would raise a proposal to “update and strengthen” Security Council sanctions. He declined to specify what these new arrangements might be.
“It is clear that remaining silent, in the hope that the DPR will show similar restraint, is a failed strategy,” he said. DPRK is the official name of the country, abbreviated to the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.
The council originally imposed sanctions after the North’s first nuclear test explosion in 2006 and tightened them for several years. But last fall, veto-wielding China and Russia called for the lifting of sanctions on their neighbors.
Russia’s Deputy Ambassador Anna Ivstigneva said Friday that further sanctions would only harm the North Korean people, while Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun called on the council to “consider how to address the DPRK’s legitimate security concerns.”
He suggested that the United States had not done enough to respond to the North’s long-range missile and nuclear tests in 2018, and that it should “show its goodwill” and “work hard to stabilize the situation” and resume dialogue.
North Korea did not speak at the council meeting. A message has been sent to the UN mission asking for comment.
The United States, meanwhile, has imposed new sanctions on Russia and five North Korean companies and individuals for transferring sensitive items to North Korea’s missile program, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
North Korea’s state-run TV dramatically adapts the missile test process to Hollywood movies, with Kim in sunglasses and a black leather motorcycle jacket shown walking slowly in front of a giant missile. Kim and military officers stare at their watches After a series of quick cuts, Kim opens his shadow and head nod and the missile is shown sticking out of the hangar.
The Hwasong-17, which was thrown at a high angle to avoid neighboring territorial waters, reached a maximum altitude of 6,248 kilometers (3,880 miles) and traveled 1,090 kilometers (680 miles) during a 67-minute flight before landing. North Korea and Japan, according to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.
KCNA claims that the launch met its technical objectives and proved that ICBM can be operated quickly in wartime situations.
The South Korean and Japanese military announced similar flight details, with analysts saying the missile could reach targets up to 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) when fired at normal speeds with a warhead weighing less than a ton. This will keep the entire mainland of the United States within attractive distance.
At about 25 meters (82 feet) long, the Hwasong-17 is believed to be North’s longest-range weapon and, according to some estimates, the world’s largest road-mobile ballistic missile system. North Korea unveiled the missile at a military parade in October 2020, and Thursday’s launch was its first full-scale test.
KCNA explained to Kim that the new weapon would “make the whole world clearly aware” of the North’s powerful nuclear capabilities. He pledged that his military would “acquire strong military and technological capabilities without being distracted by any military threat and blackmail and be fully prepared for a protracted confrontation with the US imperialists.”
The agency released a picture of the missile leaving an orange flame tail while flying from a launcher truck on the runway at an airport near the capital, Pyongyang, and Kim smiles and claps as he celebrates with military officials from an observation deck.
In other photos, Kim is seen writing a memo authorizing the Hwasong-17 test flight and approving the launch. Kim has issued handwritten orders to display the most significant weapons of his regime, including the most recent ICBM test-flight in November 2017, which limited a highly provocative race to nuclear and missile tests that then began a verbal exchange of war threats. – President Donald Trump.
Although Thursday’s test was North Korea’s strongest demonstration of its ICBM capabilities to date, some experts questioned whether the North was hiding key details about the launch.
Colin Zuirko, a senior analyst at North Korea-based website NK Pro, said commercial satellite images indicated that North Korean state TV footage of the launch was probably shot on another date. He said it raised the possibility that North Korea had failed a Hwasong-17 test on March 16, when the South Korean military said it had detected a missile explosion shortly after takeoff at the airport and was trying to pass footage of that failure with any missile. Launched Thursday.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted unnamed military officials as saying they wondered if North Korea had actually launched the smaller Huasong-15 with certain modifications to expand its range.
South Korea’s military responded to Thursday’s launch with a live-fire drill of its own missile launched from land, a fighter jet and a ship, urging a resumption of tensions as diplomacy remained frozen. It says it has confirmed its readiness to launch accurate attacks against North Korea’s missile launch points as well as command and support facilities.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin had separate telephone conversations with his counterparts in South Korea and Japan, where they discussed the response to North Korea’s missile activity and pledged to strengthen defense cooperation, according to a U.S. Defense Department statement.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he had spoken to South Korean counterpart Chung Yue-young on the phone. Seoul’s unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, has criticized the North for violating a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM exams.
“Whatever North Korea’s intentions, the North must immediately suspend any action that could provoke tensions on the Korean Peninsula and destabilize the regional security situation and return to the table for dialogue and discussion,” ministry spokesman Cha Deok-cheol said in a briefing.
Thursday’s test was the most provocative since North Korea launched its 12th round this year and since US President Joe Biden took office.
Analysts say the resumption of North Korea’s nuclear program reflects its determination to cement its status as a nuclear power and to obtain economic concessions from Washington and others in a strong position. Kim may feel the need to drum up his military accomplishments and internal allegiance when the country faces economic problems.
Other recent tests include a so-called hypersonic weapon, a long-range cruise missile and a mid-range missile that could reach Guam, a major U.S. military base in the Pacific. The U.S. and South Korean military had hoped for a full-range test of the Hwasong-17 after completing two recent midrange launches incorporating components of the new ICBM.
Following a series of nuclear and ICBM tests in 2017, Kim postponed such tests before his first meeting with Trump. But diplomacy derailed in 2019 when the Americans rejected North Korea’s demand for a major lifting of US-led sanctions against the North in exchange for a limited surrender of North Korea’s nuclear power.
ICBMs launched on three test flights in 2017 show that they can reach the U.S. mainland. Larger Hwasong-17 missiles may be equipped with multiple warheads to overwhelm the defenses.
North Korea’s ruling party issued an unveiled threat in January to end Kim’s suspension of the ICBM and nuclear tests, citing U.S. hostility.
The South Korean military has also signaled that North Korea may recover some of the nuclear-test tunnels that exploded just before Kim’s first meeting with Trump in 2018. Some experts say the North could resume nuclear tests in the coming months
Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributes from the United Nations. In Tokyo, Marie Yamaguchi contributed to the report.