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North Korea confirms Kim Jong Un's new missile launch and releases photos

North Korea has confirmed it tested its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile, under the supervision of Kim Jong Un.

He was present during the launch and was pictured smiling and clapping as he watched on from an observation deck.

State media said on Friday the launch of the Hwasong-17 was directly guided by the North Korean leader.

It said the country would continue to develop a “nuclear war deterrent” while it prepares for a “long-standing confrontation” with the US.

Kim Jong Un was seen smiling and clapping as the rocket was launched

On Thursday, Japan’s coast guard said that North Korea had launched the projectile, South Korea branded the launch a “clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions.

The “new type” of ICBM is reportedly the biggest in North Korea to date and marks an end to a self-imposed ban on long-range testing, which has been in place since 2017.

The missile reportedly flew for 677 miles (1,090km) to a maximum altitude of 3,882 miles (6,248km) and hit a target in the sea between North Korea and Japan.

More on Kim Jong Un

The rocket, which was revealed during a military parade last year, could reach targets 9,320 miles (15,000km) away when fired on a normal trajectory, which would place mainland US within striking distance.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a window during the test firing of what state media report is a "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on March 24, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
The missile was launched under the supervision of the North Korean leader

The North Korean leader ordered the launch in part due to the “daily escalating military tension in and around the Korean Peninsula” and the “long-standing confrontation with the US imperialists accompanied by the danger of nuclear war”, state-run news agency KCNA said.

It quoted him as saying the new weapon would make the “whole world clearly aware” of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and reported that he vowed his military will acquire “formidable military and technical capabilities unperturbed by any military threat and blackmail”.

The Hwasong-17 is the largest liquid-fuelled missile ever launched by any country from a road-mobile launcher, analysts said, adding North Korea’s aim is to force the US to accept it as a nuclear power and remove sanctions that have crippled its economy.

North Korea last tested an ICBM in November 2017, which triggered a verbal exchange of war threats with then US President Donald Trump.

General view during the test firing of what state media report is a North Korean "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
The launch of the ICBM is believed to be the largest land test by any country

Read more: North Korea’s rocket launch a ‘clear violation’ of UN resolutions
North Korea missile ends in failure as it ‘explodes in mid-air’

In response to the latest launch, South Korea reacted with live-fire drills of its own missiles from the land, sea and air.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin called his counterparts in South Korea and Japan and discussed a response to the launch.

Japan’s foreign minister spoke to his counterpart in South Korea and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

A combination photo shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signing the order to test fire what state media report is a "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a view of the order signed
Kim Jong Un unveiled the missile last year

Read more: United States believes intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by Pyongyang
Satellite images appear to show new activity at former North Korea nuclear test site

“Whatever North Korea’s intent may be, the North must immediately suspend action that creates tensions on the Korean Peninsula and destabilises the regional security situation and return to the table for dialogue and negotiations,” said a spokesperson for Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

The White House condemned the latest launch from North Korea and called it a “brazen violation” of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.


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