N.Korea confirms testing first ICBM since 2017


North Korea on Friday confirmed that it successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking an end to its self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing that had been in place since 2017.

According to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the Hwasong-17 was fired on Thursday “on the direct order of leader Kim Jong-un”.

Making an on-site inspection of the test, Kim stressed his country would be “fully ready for long-standing confrontation with the US imperialists”, Yonhap News Agency quoted the KCNA report as saying.

“The new strategic weapon of the DPRK would make the whole world clearly aware of the power of our strategic armed forces once again,” Kim was quoted as saying in the report.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The KCNA report said the ICBM flew 1,090 km for 4,052 seconds at a top altitude of 6,248 km before “accurately hitting the pre-set area” in the East Sea.

Meanwhile, the South Korean said that it had detected the launch from the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang at 2.34 p.m. on Thursday.

Shortly after the launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in presided over an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and strongly condemned the North’s test-firing.

The White House also strongly condemned the missile launch and called on Pyongyang to “immediately cease its destabilizing actions”.

Thursday’s launch was Pyongyang’s 12th show of force this year, ending its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing.

In April 2018, Pyongyang declared a moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests amid Seoul-brokered diplomacy that led to the first-ever summit between the US and the North in Singapore in June of the same year.

In response to Thursday’s launch, the UN Security Council will hold a formal meeting on Friday to discuss North Korea latest moves.

South Korea said it plans to join the meeting to deliver its position on the North Korea issue, although it is not a member of the Council.



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