Kim Jong-un oversaw the test launch of North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday, announced by releasing a bizarre Hollywood-style video.
In what could be mistaken for a scene from the 1986 film top gunKim emerged from a military-style building dressed in a black leather jacket and sunglasses, with two army officers on either side.
After looking at his watch for a few seconds, echoed by one of his military officers, Kim personally gave the green light for the missile to be launched, at which point the clip ended.
State media later said the launch of the missile, called Hwasong-17, was directly guided by the North Korean leader.
He added that the country would continue to develop a “nuclear war deterrent” as it prepares for a “long-running confrontation” with the United States.
First unveiled in October 2020, the Hwasong-17 is reportedly North Korea’s largest to date and marks the end of a self-imposed ban on long-range testing, which has been in place since 2017. .
The missile is said to have flown for 677 miles (1,090 km) at a maximum altitude of 3,882 miles (6,248 km) and hit a target in the sea between North Korea and Japan, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
It had never been successfully tested before and the launch, carried out at Pyongyang International Airport, sparked immediate outrage from the country’s neighbors and the US.
Joe Biden, the US president, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier condemned the move during a meeting of European and G7 leaders in Brussels. They stressed the need for diplomacy and agreed to work together to hold North Korea’s capital Pyongyang “accountable,” a White House official said.
“This launch is a blatant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and unnecessarily heightens tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
The rocket could hit targets 9,320 miles (15,000 km) away when fired on a normal trajectory, putting the continental US within striking distance, along with most of the world.