North Korea's Kim ordered test of 'new type' of ICBM: state media

North Korea's Kim ordered test of 'new type' of ICBM state media
A man walks past a television report showing a news broadcast with file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched earlier in the day. North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on March 24, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said.. (Photo: AFP)
Seoul, South Korea — North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test-firing of the country's "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile, state media reported Friday.اضافة اعلان

"The test-launch of a new type inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasongpho-17 of the DPRK strategic forces was conducted on March 24... under the direct guidance of Kim Jong Un," KCNA said.

The Hwasong-17 is a giant ICBM first unveiled in October 2020 and dubbed a "monster missile" by analysts. It has never previously been successfully test-fired.

"The missile, launched at Pyongyang International Airport, traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 km and flew a distance of 1,090 km for 4,052s before accurately hitting the pre-set area in open waters" in the Sea of Japan, KCNA said.

South Korea's military had estimated the range of the Thursday launch as 6,200 kilometers (3,800 miles) — far longer than the last ICBM North Korea tested in October 2017.

The Thursday launch, one of nearly a dozen North Korean weapons tests so far this year, marked a dramatic return to long-range testing by the nuclear-armed country.

It is likely North Korea's largest ever ICBM test, and the first time they have test-fired Kim's most powerful missiles since 2017.

Kim said the new weapon would "creditably perform its mission and duty as a powerful nuclear war deterrent," according to KCNA.

He "remarked with pride that the emergence of the new strategic weapon of the DPRK would make the whole world clearly aware of the power of our strategic armed forces once again," KCNA reported.

Long-range and nuclear tests have been paused since Kim met then-US president Donald Trump for a bout of doomed diplomacy, which collapsed in 2019.

But North Korea threatened that it could abandon a self-imposed moratorium on long-range and nuclear tests earlier this year, and the US and South Korea have warned that Pyongyang was preparing to launch an ICBM at full range.

North Korea has long coveted an ICBM that can carry multiple warheads and, Seoul and Washington say, has been testing the Hwasong-17 under cover of developing a “reconnaissance satellite.”

Last week, a test likely of the Hwasong-17 ended in failure, exploding in the skies over the capital shortly after launch.

The North has carried out three ICBM tests, the last in November 2017, of a Hwasong-15 -- deemed powerful enough to reach the continental United States.

Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have condemned the Thursday launch, which will raise tensions on the peninsula amid a presidential transition in South Korea.

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