SEOUL, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Announcing that it is “shaking the globe” with its missile tests, North Korea bragged on Tuesday that it is one of just a handful of countries possessing nuclear weapons and sophisticated missiles.
The UN Security Council has long prohibited North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, and international tension has been building as a result of recent North Korean missile launches. At least seven such tests were conducted in January, setting a new record, including the launch of a new “hypersonic missile” capable of maneuvering at high speed.
The first fire of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile since 2017 was also part of the testing, and it is capable of hitting US territory in the Pacific Ocean.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry of North Korea said that tests conducted since the New Year were “amazing accomplishments” that improved the country’s “war deterrent.
Additionally, it mentioned the Hwasong-15, North Korea’s most powerful ICBM to yet, which hasn’t been fired since its first test in 2017 and is widely considered to have the range to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States, though it hasn’t been fired since its first test in 2017.
“In today’s world when many nations spend time dealing with the United States with surrender and mindless obedience, there’s only our country on this earth that can rock the world by shooting a missile with the U.S. mainland in its range,” it stated.
Over 200 countries in the globe, but only a few have nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
At a press briefing on North Korea, the US State Department said it had no hostile intent toward Pyongyang, and that it has repeatedly called for dialogue, which Pyongyang has consistently disregarded.
A spokeswoman for the State Department also referred to North Korea as a danger to world peace and security and global nonproliferation.
“The United States has a crucial interest in deterring (North Korea), defending against any provocations or uses of force, restricting the reach of its most dangerous weapons programs, and above all keeping the American people, our deployed soldiers, and our friends safe,” the spokesman added.
That North Korea’s statement was issued by the country’s foreign ministry may have made it look less dangerous, according to the head of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea program. “The wording here is quite passive. Not that they will do it, but that they can,” she remarked.
On Tuesday, North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of its armed forces, a festival that in the past has been marked with military parades displaying missiles and other weaponry.
Although no parade was reported, official media indicated that the day was celebrated by top military officers visiting the mausoleum of the country’s past leaders, as well as other activities.
U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concern that North Korea’s Hwasong-12 launch on Jan. 30 might be a precursor to a complete resumption of ICBM or nuclear weapons testing. There has not been a nuclear test or an ICBM launch by North Korea since 2017.
In a statement released on Monday, the United States urged North Korea to stop funding its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and instead focus on the needs of its citizens. To get the most out of your time, read more
In a statement released Monday, a Washington-based think group identified a military site near North Korea’s border with China that is likely to be used for ICBM deployments. read on to learn more
Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs have not been reduced or limited in exchange for sanctions relief since the beginning of 2019.
Josh Smith contributed to this article, which also included work from Hyonhee Shin in Seoul and David Brunnstrom in New York. William Maclean and Alistair Bell edited the book in Washington.
The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles form the basis of our standards.
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