North Korea said on Thursday it had successfully tested its new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to state media, days after Pyongyang threatened to shoot down US spy planes that violated its airspace. .
The Hwasong-18 – a new type of solid-fuel ICBM that was reportedly fired by the North Korean military only once, in April – flew 1,001 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 6,648 km before s sink in the East Sea, KCNA news agency reported, using the Korean name for the Sea of Japan. Experts say the flight time of around 70 minutes is also similar to some of North Korea’s previous ICBM launches.
The launch, which KCNA said was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was a “big explosion” that shook “the entire planet”, the state media report added. Kim Jong-un also promised that a “series of stronger military offensives” would be launched until the United States and South Korea change their policy towards the North, KCNA reported.
A shot “firmly condemned”
The confirmation of the launch, which the South Korean military reported on Wednesday, comes at a time when relations are at their lowest between the two Koreas. Kim Jong-un called his country’s nuclear power status last year “irreversible” and called for increased development of weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.
In response, Seoul and Washington promised that Pyongyang would face a nuclear response and the “end” of its current government if it decided to use atomic weapons against them. The launch “is a serious provocation that undermines the peace and security of the Korean peninsula” and violates United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, the South Korean general staff said on Wednesday, calling on Pyongyang to put an end to such actions.
The United Nations, the United States and their allies, including France, also strongly condemned it on Wednesday. The United States “strongly condemned” this shooting, “in flagrant violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions”, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the American National Security Council, attached to the White House. “It unnecessarily stirs up tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” added Adam Hodge. In February, Pyongyang also launched a Hwasong-15, which flew 989 kilometers.