North Korea: Kim orders the launch of a powerful intercontinental ballistic missile – 03/25/2022 at 12:39

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea's Kcna agency of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile fired at an unspecified location in North Korea on March 24, 2022 (KCNA VIA KNS/STR)

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea’s Kcna agency of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile fired at an unspecified location in North Korea on March 24, 2022 (KCNA VIA KNS/STR)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally ordered and supervised the launch of the country’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), ensuring Pyongyang is ready for a “protracted confrontation” with the United States, the state news agency reports on Friday.

A meeting of the Security Council will be held on Friday from 3:00 p.m. (19:00 GMT), according to the UN and diplomats.

North Korea on Thursday launched, for the first time since 2017, a “full-range” missile that flew higher and farther than any previous ICBMs tested by the nuclear-armed country.

Called Hwasong-17, the missile, which is capable of reaching any part of the United States, landed in Japan’s Exclusive Maritime Economic Zone.

“The missile, launched from Pyongyang International Airport, reached a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 km and traveled a distance of 1,090 km for 4,052 seconds before accurately hitting the predefined area,” KCNA said.

Photos taken by state media show the leader, dressed in his usual black leather jacket and dark sunglasses, walking on the runway in front of a huge missile.

In others, he cheers and celebrates the shot with the uniformed top brass.

The new ICBM will make “the whole world aware … of the power of our strategic armed forces,” Kim Jong Un said, according to KCNA, adding that the country is now “ready for a long-term confrontation with the American imperialists”.

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea's Kcna news agency of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (c) in front of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile at an unspecified location in North Korea, March 24, 2022 (KCNA VIA KNS/ STR)

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea’s Kcna news agency of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (c) in front of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile at an unspecified location in North Korea, March 24, 2022 (KCNA VIA KNS/ STR)

The Hwasong-17, first unveiled in October 2020, is dubbed a “monster missile” by analysts. It had never been successfully tested before, and the launch brought new US sanctions.

It is “a break with the moratorium on the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles to which President Kim Jong Un had committed” in 2017, lamented the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

– Escalation risk –

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Thursday night, saying the shooting “demonstrates the threat that illegal weapons of mass destruction and the DPRK’s ballistic missile programs pose a burden to its neighbors and to the entire country.” international community,” according to State Department spokesman Ned Price.

North Korean missile fire (AFP /)

North Korean missile fire (AFP /)

South Korea’s military said it responded by firing “land, sea and air missiles” off its coast.

The United Nations, through the voice of Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, “condemned” this Thursday “strongly” this shooting.

“The launch of a long-range missile risks a major escalation of tensions in the region,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general.

UN resolutions bar North Korea, hit by heavy international sanctions over its nuclear and weapons programs, from testing ballistic missiles.

This has not prevented Pyongyang from carrying out a dozen tests of this type of weaponry since the beginning of the year.

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea's Kcna News Agency of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (c) applauding during the launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile at an unspecified location in North Korea on March 24. March 2022. (KCNA VIA KNS /STR)

Photo released on March 25, 2022 by North Korea’s Kcna news agency of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (c) applauding during the launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile at an unspecified location in North Korea on March 24. March 2022. (KCNA VIA KNS /STR)

But it hasn’t been intercontinental missiles so far, although Washington and Seoul suspect the North Korean regime has tested certain ICBM systems during these launches.

Pyongyang carried out three intercontinental ballistic missile launches in 2017. The device then tested, the Hwasong-15, was able to reach the United States.

– Failed last week –

According to Seoul, a missile test conducted by North Korea on March 16 failed and the projectile exploded in the sky over Pyongyang shortly after launch. The regime has remained silent on this fact.

Data on North Korea's missile arsenal (AFP /)

Data on North Korea’s missile arsenal (AFP /)

Analysts had expected Pyongyang, which will celebrate the 110th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, on April 15, to make a show of force to mark the most important on Korea’s political calendar. from North.

Kim Jong Un said last year that improving the country’s military capabilities was a top priority for the regime.

Priority among priorities: develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying several conventional or nuclear warheads, each following an independent trajectory, difficult to intercept by anti-missile systems.

“Kim probably feels that now is the perfect time to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and emphatically remind the world that North Korea, unlike Ukraine, is a nuclear-armed country,” Ahn Chan-il, an expert on North Korea.

“The important thing with (Hwasong-17) is not how far it can travel, but what it can potentially carry, meaning multiple warheads,” said AFP analyst Ankit Panda, which North Korea has long coveted.

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