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North Korea Says Hwasong-18 ICBM Test Was Response to US Hostility

North Korea said on Tuesday it had tested the isolated state’s newest ICBM on Monday to gauge the war readiness of its nuclear force against mounting U.S. hostility, as Washington and its allies began operating a real-time missile data sharing system.

North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong Un watched Monday’s launch of the Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a site east of the capital, Pyongyang. The missile reached an altitude of 6,518 km (4,050 miles), flying 1,002 km and accurately hitting the intended target, an empty patch of sea, state media said.

Kim said the launch sends “a clear signal to the hostile forces, who have fanned up their reckless military confrontation hysteria” against the North, state news agency KCNA reported.

Kim said the drill “displayed the DPRK’s will for toughest counteraction and its overwhelming strength”. DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He presented “some new important tasks for accelerating the development of the DPRK’s nuclear strategic forces”, KCNA said, without elaborating.

“The U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces’ vicious ambition for confrontation will not abate of its own accord, he said, stressing the need for the DPRK to never overlook all the reckless and irresponsible military threats of the enemies.”

South Korea and Japan said that based on the flight data on Monday, the North had fired an ICBM with the range to hit anywhere in the United States. The launch was condemned by South Korea, Japan and the United States as a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

On the same day, China, a Security Council permanent member that has previously approved sanctions against Pyongyang, held a high-level meeting with North Korea in Beijing, discussing cooperation and issues of “common concern” in “a friendly atmosphere,” the countries’ state media said.

The U.N. Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday at the request of the United States and other countries to discuss the launch.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has taken a hard line against Pyongyang since taking office last year, said Kim Jong Un’s regime “will come to realise provocative actions will only bring greater pain to itself”.

Source : Reuters