North Korean state media said Thursday that Pyongyang tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as leader Kim Jong Un ordered the hermit nation to prepare for a “long-term confrontation” with the United States.
The Hwasong-17 was fired from Pyongyang International Airport on March 24 and flew 681 miles (1,090 kilometers) to a maximum altitude of 3,905 miles (6,248.5 kilometers) before hitting a target in the sea, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The Hwasong-17 is North Korea’s biggest missile, which experts described as a “monster missile” capable of striking anywhere in the United States and beyond.
KCNA claimed that Kim aims to strengthen nuclear war deterrent to counter the “daily-escalating military tension of the Korean Peninsula” and the “inevitability of the long-term confrontation with the U.S. imperialists accompanied by nuclear war threat.”
The news agency quoted Kim as saying: “It is necessary to make clear that whoever tries to infringe upon the security of our state shall pay dearly.”
The United States said on March 24 it has imposed new sanctions on two Russian firms, one Russian and one North Korean, as well as North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Science Foreign Affairs Bureau for transferring sensitive items to North Korea’s missile program.
“These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to impede the DPRK’s ability to advance its missile program and they highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator to programs of concern,” the U.S. State Department said, using the official acronym for North Korea.
The United Nations Security Council will meet publicly at 3 p.m. on Friday to discuss North Korea’s ICBM launch. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also urged Pyongyang “to desist from taking any further counter-productive actions.”
“This is another breach of the DPRK’s announced moratorium in 2018 on launches of this nature and a clear violation of Security Council resolutions. The launch of the long-range missile risks a significant escalation of tensions in the region,” Guterres’ spokesman said in a statement.
North Korea has been conducting a series of missile tests since the start of 2022. On March 11, South Korea warned that Pyongyang appears to be restoring parts of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, which the Kim regime razed in May 2018 as a sign of its commitment to end nuclear testing.
The United States has been urging for a return for a dialogue, a call Pyongyang has ignored due to what it says are the United States and its allies’ hostile policies.
Reuters contributed to this report.