North Korea said on Monday that leader Kim Jong Un promised to develop more powerful means of attack, days after the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile launch in more than four years.
The statement suggests that North Korea could carry out additional launches or even test a nuclear device as soon as it pushes to modernize its arsenal and increase pressure on the Biden administration as nuclear diplomacy remains stalled. Last Thursday, North Korea conducted its 12th round of weapons tests this year, launching the newly developed long-range Hwasong-17, which analysts say was designed to reach anywhere in the continental United States.
During a photo session with scientists and others involved in the Hwasong-17 test, Kim expressed his determination to develop the country’s strike capability to deal with threats, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
“Only when one is equipped with formidable attack capabilities, overwhelming military power that no one can stop, can one prevent a war, ensure the security of the country, and contain and control all threats and blackmail from the imperialists,” Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA. .
Kim said North Korea will develop more “powerful means of attack” and also expressed his belief and expectation that his country “will more vigorously perfect the country’s nuclear war deterrence,” KCNA said.
North Korea said the Hwasong-17 flew at a maximum altitude of 6,248 kilometers (3,880 miles) and traveled 1,090 kilometers (680 miles) during a 67-minute flight before landing in waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan. Outside experts said that if the missile is fired on a standard trajectory, flatter than the steep test angle, it could fly up to 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), enough to reach anywhere in the continental United States and beyond.
Thought to be about 25 meters (82 feet) long, the Hwasong-17 is North Korea’s longest-range weapon and, by some estimates, the world’s largest road-based mobile ballistic missile system. warheads, given that North Korea already has single-warhead ICBMs that could hit most of the US.
US-led diplomacy aimed at convincing North Korea to denuclearize in exchange for economic and political benefits has largely stalled since 2019. The Biden administration has urged North Korea to return to talks without preconditions. , but Pyongyang has countered that Washington must end its hostility first and has taken steps to expand its weapons arsenals.
Some experts say Kim could soon conduct another ICBM launch, satellite-carrying rocket launch or nuclear device test as he works to perfect his weapons technology, increase pressure on the United States and secure a stronger domestic royalty. .
The liftoff of the Hwasong-17 was the North’s most serious weapons launch since it tested a previously developed ICBM in November 2017.