North Korea test-launched new ‘Hwasong-17’ ICBM for first time, state media says
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the successful test-launch of a new “powerful tool for nuclear attack” called the “Hwasong-17” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday as part of efforts to “contain” the U.S., state media reported the following day.
Pyongyang claimed it carried out the test to “ensure the scientific and technical reliability of [the Hwasong-17’s] prompt operation under the wartime condition,” as neighboring countries and the U.S. condemn the launch as a major provocation.
“It is necessary to make clear that whoever tries to infringe upon the security of our state shall pay dearly,” Kim reportedly said while overseeing the launch, according to the Rodong Sinmun.
“Our state defence capability will make thorough preparations for long confrontation with U.S. imperialism on the basis of the tremendous military technical force unflinching even to any military threat and blackmail.”
He added that the “Strategic Force of the DPRK is fully ready to thoroughly check and contain any dangerous military attempt of the U.S. imperialists,” and that “the new strategic weapon of the DPRK will clearly show the might of our strategic force to the whole world once again.”
Friday’s state media report was not clear about whether the missile system is ready for deployment, but said the Strategic Forces will “equip and operate” the Hwasong-17 to “reliably perform its mission and duty as a powerful nuclear war deterrent.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Thursday said the missile flew 671 miles (1,080 km) and reached an altitude of 3,853 miles (6,200 km).
Japan’s defense ministry said the flight time was around 71 minutes, and that the missile splashed down 93 miles (150 km) west off the coast of Toshima Peninsula in Hokkaido, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
North Korea provided similar numbers in its report on Friday, saying it flew for 67 minutes, reached an altitude of 3,882.3 miles (6,248.5 km) and landed 677 miles (1,090 km) from its launch location at the Pyongyang International Airport.
Friday’s report did not detail the missile’s intended maximum range, but it is larger than the “Hwasong-15” ICBM which state media said in 2017 was designed specifically to strike the “entire” U.S. mainland.
“The intercontinental ballistic missile was test-fired vertically in consideration of the security of the neighbouring states,” North Korea said Friday, despite Japanese anger at the missile landing in its waters.
Reactions from the international community have been swift and harsher than Pyongyang’s previous 10 missile tests this year.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in “strongly condemned” the launch as a “grave threat,” and the Japanese foreign minister and the U.S. Secretary of State called it a “clear and serious challenge” to the world.
The White House called the missile launch a “brazen violation” of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from testing ballistic missiles – resolutions which Pyongyang does not recognize as legitimate.
The Biden administration called on Pyongyang to “immediately cease its destabilizing actions,” but added that “the door has not closed on diplomacy.”
China, who condemned North Korea’s last ICBM launch in Nov. 2017, did not offer its own assessment of the latest test on Thursday, with the foreign ministry calling for “peace and stability” on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim Jong Un declared a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs in 2018 as relations warmed with the U.S. and South Korea, but he appeared to rescind it this past January by instructing officials to “rapidly examine the issue on resuming” such testing.
He said in Friday’s missile test report that North Korea will “concentrate all efforts of the state on continuously strengthening defense capabilities.”
Edited by Arius Derr
Updated on March 25 at 10:00 a.m. KST
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the successful test-launch of a new "powerful tool for nuclear attack" called the "Hwasong-17" intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday as part of efforts to "contain" the U.S., state media reported the following day.
Pyongyang claimed it carried out the test to "ensure the scientific and technical reliability of [the Hwasong-17's] prompt operation under the wartime condition," as neighboring countries and the U.S. condemn the launch as a major provocation.