In a display of defiance against recent U.S. actions, Kim Jong Un of Noth Korea oversaw the second test flight of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the mainland US.
Kim’s statement, as reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), indicated that North Korea intends to intensify its weapons testing activities and expand its nuclear arsenal. The move comes in response to perceived threats from what Kim referred to as “hostile forces”. Moreover, the deteriorating security environment on the Korean peninsula.
Following the launch of the Hwasong-18 missile in April, Kim described it as the most powerful weapon in North Korea’s nuclear forces. The road-mobile ICBM is equipped with solid propellant. However, making it harder to detect compared to liquid-fueled missiles.
Strengthening North Korea’s strategic capabilities
The KCNA reported that the missile launch aimed to reaffirm the technical credibility and operational reliability of the weapon. Kim hailed the event as an “important stride” in strengthening North Korea’s strategic capabilities.
To avoid provoking neighbouring countries, the missile was launched at a high angle and flew for approximately 74 minutes. Covering a distance of 1,001 kilometres (622 miles) at a maximum altitude of 6,648 kilometres (4,130 miles). It ultimately landed in a designated area in the open waters off the North Korean east coast.
In response to the escalating tensions, the UN Security Council has scheduled an open meeting for late Friday afternoon. At the request of the United States, Albania, France, Japan, Malta, and the UK. The meeting aims to discuss the recent ICBM test flight of Noth Korea and its implications for regional security.
The international community continues to closely monitor North Korea’s actions, particularly its advancements in nuclear capabilities and missile technology. These developments pose significant challenges to global security and have raised concerns among world leaders, emphasizing the need for diplomatic efforts to defuse the tensions on the Korean peninsula.