North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lauded the latest test of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile as a “complete success,” approving its deployment for field combat, state media said Monday.
In Sunday’s launch, the Pukguksong-2, also known as KN-15, flew about 500 kilometers before falling into the East Sea, reaching an altitude of 560 kilometers, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The same model was introduced through a previous successful test on Feb. 12, built on the technology for building submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) (Yonhap)
Supervising the latest launch, Kim called the results “flawless and perfect” and proved the warhead’s accuracy, instructing its deployment and mass-production, Pyongyang’s official media said.
“The test-fire of Pukguksong-2 was aimed to finally verify all the technical indexes of the weapon system and thoroughly examine its adaptability under various battle conditions, before its deployment to military units for action,” the Korean Central News Agency said.
“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and the Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” it added, quoting the young ruler.
The experiment also “completely verified” the reliability and accuracy of the cold launch system from a caterpillar-style tracked transporter erector launcher, the high thrust solid fuel engines and the guidance and stabilization features of the nuclear warhead recorded by a built-in device, the report said.
The Rodong Sinmun, the ruling Workers’ Party’s mouthpiece, also released images of the Earth which were taken from the device camera installed on the warhead.
The test was Pyongyang’s second missile provocation after President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10. Last week, it claimed success in firing another new IRBM called the Hwasong-12, which it says is capable of striking Hawaii and Alaska.
A set of photos carried by North Korea`s main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, on May 22, 2017, shows the test-firing of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, known as the Pukguksong-2, in North Korea. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
The newest liftoff prompted stringent criticism from South Korea, the US, Japan and other countries.
Moon ordered an emergency session of the National Security Council presided over by Chung Eui-yong, new chief of National Security Office, calling for a “stern response.”
Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the Foreign Ministry here, held separate phone calls with his US and Japanese counterparts -- Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi -- during which they strongly condemned the test and shared their assessments.
Upon the three countries’ request, the UN Security Council will convene an emergency meeting Tuesday to issue condemnations and explore its options for further sanctions.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blasted the event “disappointing, disturbing,” saying in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that Washington will continue economic and diplomatic pressure to change Pyongyang’s course.
By Shin Hyon-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and Jung Min-kyung (email@example.com