North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to respond to nuclear threats with nuclear weapons after the hermit kingdom fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that has the capability to reach the US mainland.
State media outlet KCNA reported on Saturday that Kim attended the launch for the first time with his young daughter. Walk hand in hand to the test site. Little is known about his personal life, and this is the first confirmation of his existence.
State media said, “Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if the enemy continues to threaten … our party and government will respond resolutely with nuclear weapons and all-out confrontation with nuclear weapons.”
On Friday, North Korea launched a Hwasong-17 missile from the capital Pyongyang that landed in waters west of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The missile is believed to have covered about 620 miles in a high trajectory and reached a maximum altitude of 3,728 miles, according to Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.
Based on the weight of any given warhead, Hamada estimated the missile’s range could exceed 9,000 miles, “in which case, all of the US mainland would be included in its range,” he said.
In response to Friday’s missile launch, US B-1B bombers participated in separate joint exercises with South Korean and Japanese warplanes.
It was North Korea’s second major weapons test this month, which Kim said showed it had a weapon to counter US-led military threats.
, Vice President Kamala Harris called an emergency meeting with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada at the APEC summit in Thailand.
Harris called North Korea’s launch a “brazen violation” of several UN Security Council resolutions.
“It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily escalates tensions,” Harris said. “We strongly condemn these actions, and we again call on North Korea to stop its illegal, destabilizing actions.”
Days after the launch, President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to defend the pair of countries with a full range of capabilities, including the US, Japan and South Korea, and nuclear weapons.
In response, and just hours before Friday’s launch, North Korean Foreign Minister Cho Son Hui warned of “harsh” military responses. “The US must be well aware that this is a gamble it will surely regret,” he said, adding that recent military exercises with the US and its allies in the region had “failed to deter North Korea’s provocations”. .
After a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Bali last week, Biden said Beijing has an “obligation to try to clarify” to North Korea.
While the president said he is not sure China can “control” North Korea’s actions, he added: “I do believe China is not looking to engage in ways that further escalate North Korea.”
Regarding North Korea’s nuclear tests, Biden said: “We have to take some actions that are more defensive on our part, and that … will not be directed against China, but it will have to send a clear message. ” North Korea.
“We’re going to defend our allies, as well as American soil and American capability.”
The UN Security Council plans to meet on Monday at Japan’s request for an emergency meeting on North Korea.
With additional reporting by Dylan Stableford.