PYONGYANG – North Korea declared Tuesday that it successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the same day, hailing it as the “final gate to rounding off the state nuclear force.”
The DPRK lauded the launch of the ICBM as a historic event in boosting its defense capabilities to counter the threats of the United States.
The Korean Central Television reported in a special program that top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un signed the order to carry out the test-fire of the ICBM Hwasong-14 on Monday and personally conducted the launch, before “declaring before the world its shining success.”
The DPRK Academy of Defense Science said the missile blasted off from the northwestern part of the DPRK at 09:00 a.m. (0030 GMT) Tuesday to make a 39-minute flight along its pre-set trajectory before accurately hitting the target waters in the open sea in the East Sea of Korea (Sea of Japan), according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The test launch was carried out at the maximum angle launch system and had no adverse effect on the security of neighboring countries, it said, adding that it was boosted to the maximum height of 2,802 km and traveled 933 km distance.
“The success in the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 is a powerful manifestation of the invincible state might and the tremendous capability of the self-reliant national defense industry of the DPRK,” said the news release.
“It is also a great auspicious event to be specially recorded in the history of the DPRK which has long craved for powerful defense capabilities,” it said.
South Korea on Tuesday strongly denounced the DPRK’s firing of the ballistic missile.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that the DPRK fired off the ballistic missile into its eastern waters from an area near Banghyeon, North Pyongan province in the DPRK’s northwest region at around 9:40 a.m. local time (0040 GMT).
Meanwhile, China said it opposes the missile launch by the DPRK which is in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“China urges the DPRK to refrain from acts that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions so as to create necessary conditions for resuming dialogue and negotiation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.
Given the complex and sensitive situation on the Korean Peninsula, China hopes all sides can exercise calm and restraint to ease tensions there and return to the right path of peaceful dialogue, the spokesperson said.
U.N. Security Council resolutions ban the DPRK from conducting any launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests or any other provocation.