Seoul, Mar 17 (EFE).- North Korea test-fired its projectile with the greatest potential range, a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on Thursday to demonstrate its “toughest response” to United States and South Korean ‘aggression.’
The launch was attended by leader Kim Jong-un, and carried out in response to the military drills that Seoul and Washington are holding in the south of the Korean Peninsula, according to the state news agency KCNA on Friday.
Kim “stressed the need to strike fear into the enemies, really deter war and reliably guarantee the peaceful life of our people,” KCNA reported.
It said the launch was carried out “under the grave situation in which the most unstable security environment is being created in the Korean Peninsula due to the frantic, provocative and aggressive large-scale war drills conducted by the US and the south Korean puppet traitors,” it said, in reference to the allies’ Freedom Shield spring exercises, which will conclude on Mar. 23.
North Korea sees the exercises as a rehearsal for the invasion of its territory and has vowed an “unprecedented response.”
The missile, launched from Pyongyang airport, “traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,045km and flew a distance of 1,000.2 km for 4,151s (69 minutes) before accurately landing on the preset area in the open waters” of the Sea of Japan, KCNA said.
It came down about 250 kilometers from the island of Oshima off the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Japan’s defense ministry said on Thursday.
The North Korean test came hours before South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol traveled to Tokyo to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, marking the first bilateral visit between the two countries in 12 years.
The leaders promised to strengthen their cooperation in security matters, and with the US in the face of North Korea’s weapons developments, and indicated that they will “normalize” their pact to share military intelligence in real time.
The images published by KCNA show that Kim watched the launch accompanied again by his daughter.
The agency also published four images taken by a camera supposedly attached to the missile. EFE