- North Korea has vowed to “react resolutely” to the U.S. threat to use nuclear weapons with its nuclear capabilities.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to use nuclear weapons to counter U.S. threats hours after testing the launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB), the latest escalation as the U.N. Security Council prepares to convene an emergency session on Pyongyang’s actions.
“Kim Jong Un solemnly stated that if enemies continue to pose threats… our party and government will resolutely react to nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons and total confrontation with all-out confrontation,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Saturday.
KCNA said the Hwasong-17 launched Friday aimed to achieve “the most powerful and absolute nuclear deterrent” and described the missile as “the strongest strategic weapon in the world.”
North Korea has long defended its ballistic missile launch as a legitimate defense against what it calls a decades-old threat from U.S. military forces and its allies in South Korea.
Kim was accompanied by his daughter, in his first public appearance, as he inspected a missile launch site on Friday. Followed by military officers and staff, Kim and her daughter walked hand in hand through the ICBM launch site where they stopped to observe military hardware and multiple ICBMs.
Commenting on Friday’s launch, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country had “lodged a strong protest against North Korea, which has repeated its provocations with unprecedented frequency.”
“We have told (Pyongyang) that we cannot tolerate such actions,” Kishida said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand.
KCNA said the missile flew nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) for about 69 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 6,041 km (3,754 miles).
Kim hailed the test launch as a success, declaring it a confirmation of North Korea’s “maximum ability to contain any nuclear threat” and a warning to the administration of US President Joe Biden and his allies that any military provocation would trigger its “self-destruction,” KCNA reported.
Friday’s ICBM launch and saber-rattling statements come just days after Biden pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping in their first face-to-face meeting during the G20 talks in Bali to let Kim know Washington would not tolerate his “long-range nuclear tests.”
Biden promised a “defensive” response to “send a clear message to North Korea” if Xi could not control Pyongyang. Biden has yet to directly address North Korea’s ICBM test on Friday.
“We are aware of the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera.
“The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from any further illegal and destabilizing acts. While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory, or our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation. U.S. commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad.”
North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Source: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
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