According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea has made a promise to significantly improve his country’s nuclear fighting capabilities as he supervised the second test-flight of a new intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the mainland U.S.
The state news agency’s report on Kim’s remarks comes a day after the launch of the Hwasong-18, which the North Korean leader regards as the most powerful weapon of his nuclear forces, and was first test-fired in April.
The road-mobile ICBM has built-in solid propellant, which makes it more difficult to detect in advance than liquid-fueled missiles.
Kim’s statement signals that North Korea would step up weapons testing activities to expand its arsenal in response to recent U.S. steps to enhance its security commitment to ally South Korea.
The media reported Kim as saying, “The present unstable situation in which the security environment on the Korean peninsula is being seriously threatened by the hostile forces every moment, (That) requires more intense efforts to implement the line of bolstering nuclear war deterrent.”
The news agency disclosed that the launch was meant to reconfirm the technical credibility and operational reliability of the missile. It added that Kim called the launch “another important stride” in efforts to boost the North’s strategic forces.
The missile was launched on a high angle to avoid hitting neighboring countries, the news media announced. It flew 74 minutes and a distance of 1,001 kilometers (622 miles) at a maximum altitude of 6,648 kilometers (4,130 miles) before landing in a targeted area in the open waters off the North’s east coast.
The missile’s flight time is the longest recorded by any weapon launched by North Korea. If launched on a standard trajectory, the missile could fly to the mainland U.S. though some experts say North Korea still has some technologies to master to acquire functioning nuclear-armed missiles.
Also, Kim established unspecified tasks for North Korea’s national defence sector. He averred that North Korea will take “a series of stronger military offensive” until the U.S. and South Korea “admit their shameful defeat of their useless hostile policy toward (North Korea) in despair and give up their policy.”
That suggests that Kim will intensify his effforts to modernize his missile arsenals with sophisticated weapons like the Hwasong-18.
Other weapons on Kim’s publicly stated wish list are a multi-warhead missile, a hypersonic weapon, a spy satellite and a nuclear-powered submarine.
UNSC To Discuss The North’s ICBM Launch
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council has scheduled an open meeting for late Friday, July 14, 2023 afternoon to discuss the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch at the request of the United States, Albania, France, Japan, Malta and the United Kingdom.
South Korea, Japan and the United States criticized North Korea over its missile launch which they said posed a threat to regional and international peace.
Adam Hodge, a Spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, noted in a statement that the U.S. will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland, South Korean and Japanese allies.
The Korean Central News Agency accused the U.S. and South Korea of recently taking “frantic confrontation attempts” and bringing “a new chain of nuclear crises” on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea often issues such harsh, warlike statements in times of tensions with its rivals.
The North Korean news agency report cited a U.S.-South Korean agreement to strengthen the allies’ deterrence capabilities such as the periodic docking of a U.S. nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea and the establishment of a new bilateral nuclear consultative group, whose inaugural meeting is slated for next week in Seoul.