North Korea’s Kim boasts new ICBMs like America’s flying bombers
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has boasted that a recently tested intercontinental ballistic missile is another “reliable and maximum capacity” weapon to contain US military threats, state media reported Saturday. The United States responded to the North’s weapons launch by flying supersonic bombers in a show of force.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim oversaw the launch of a Hwasong-17 missile, a day after its neighbors said they had detected an ICBM launch that showed the potential arrive anywhere in the United States.
KCNA said Kim watched the launch with his wife Ri Sol Ju and their “beloved daughter” as well as senior officials. State media photos showed Kim walking hand-in-hand with her daughter, who was dressed in a white coat, as they watched the huge rocket being loaded onto a launch truck. It is the first time North Korea has released a photo of Kim’s daughter. Observers say Kim watching the weapons launch with his family suggests he was confident of success.
Kim, 38, is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea. South Korean media reported that she has three children born in 2010, 2013 and 2017. It was not immediately known which child he took to the launch site.
Friday’s launch was part of the North’s ongoing missile tests seen as an attempt to expand its arsenal and strengthen its leverage in future diplomacy. Some foreign experts said the Hwasong-17 missile is still under development, but the North’s longest-range ballistic weapon is designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat US missile defense systems.
KCNA said the missile, fired from Pyongyang International Airport, reached a maximum altitude of about 6,040 kilometers (3,750 miles) and flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in a predetermined area in international waters off the country’s east coast. .
“The test firing clearly proved the reliability of the new main strategic weapon system to be representative of (North Korea’s) strategic forces and its powerful combat performance as the strongest strategic weapon in the world,” KCNA said.
“Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if the enemies continue to pose threats (to North Korea), often introducing means of nuclear attack, our party and government will resolutely respond to nuclear attacks with nuclear weapons and to full confrontation with all-out conflict,” KCNA said. is.
Kim’s statement suggests that North Korea will continue its testing activities as the United States seeks to strengthen its own security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan. There are concerns that North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in five years.
US B-1B bombers took part in joint exercises on Saturday with other South Korean and US warplanes in response to North Korea’s launch, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The drills are said to have demonstrated the “ironclad” US security commitment to South Korea and the allies’ combined defense posture.
North Korea is sensitive to the deployment of US B-1B bombers because they are capable of carrying a huge load of conventional weapons. Earlier this month, the US sent B-1B bombers to fly over South Korea as part of exercises, the first such bomber overflight in five years.
On Friday, the US military held separate air exercises with South Korean and Japanese forces. South Korea’s military said it also conducted its own drills on Friday simulating airstrikes against North Korean mobile missile launchers.
The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday morning on North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch at the request of Japan. But it is unclear whether he can impose new sanctions on North Korea as China and Russia, the council’s two veto-wielding members, have opposed moves by the United States and allies to tighten sanctions on the North over its banned ballistic missile tests earlier this year.
US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson condemned Friday’s launch and said the United States would take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the security of its territory and South Korea and Japan. Vice President Kamala Harris met separately with the leaders of those countries and Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who are attending a regional forum in Bangkok to discuss a joint response to North Korea.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Friday that depending on the weight of the potential warhead, the missile has a range of more than 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), “in which case it can cover the entire mainland of the United States.”
The North’s nuclear and missile arsenals are shrouded in secrecy. Some experts say North Korea is still years away from having a functioning nuclear missile, saying it has yet to prove the technologies to ensure warheads survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry. But others say North Korea has likely already acquired such capabilities given the number of years it has spent on its nuclear program.
In recent months, North Korea has conducted dozens of short-range missile tests that it called simulations of nuclear attacks on South Korean and American targets. North Korea said its tests were aimed at issuing a warning to the United States and South Korea over their military training, which the North sees as a rehearsal for an invasion. Seoul and Washington have said their regular exercises are defensive in nature.
North Korea halted weapons launches for about a week before it fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday. Prior to that launch, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui threatened to launch a “fierce” military response on US steps to strengthen its security commitment to South Korea and Japan.
US President Joe Biden met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on November 13 on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Cambodia, issuing a joint statement strongly condemning North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreeing to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with the full range of capabilities, including nuclear weapons.
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