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N Korea: ICBM Was to Warn US, S Korea Over Joint Drills
By Staff, Agencies
North Korea's Thursday missile launch was a drill to demonstrate a tough response posture to the ongoing US-South Korea military drills.
According to the state media reports, North Korea said the launch was its largest Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM] fired during the drill.
North Korea fired the ICBM into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before South Korea's president flew to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the nuclear-armed North.
The North's ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch drew condemnation from governments in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
On Monday, South Korean and American forces began 11 days of joint drills, dubbed "Freedom Shield 23", which were held on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter the North's growing threats.
Kim accused the United States and South Korea of increasing tensions over military drills.
He "stressed the need to strike fear into the enemies, really deter war and reliably guarantee the peaceful life of our people and their struggle for socialist construction by irreversibly bolstering the nuclear war deterrent," KCNA reported.
China, which has a defense pact with North Korea, also blamed the United States for the current tensions, saying they are caused by Washington's efforts to increase pressure on Pyongyang.
The Hwasong-17 is North Korea's biggest missile yet and is the largest road-mobile, liquid-fueled ICBM in the world.
It is believed to have the range to potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to targets anywhere in the United States.
The missile was launched from Pyongyang's airport, and KCNA said it traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,045 km [3,756 mi] and flew a distance of 1,000 km [621 mi] for just over 69 minutes, before falling into the open sea. The launch did not pose a safety threat to any neighboring countries, the report said.
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