ABC News Australia

North Korea: Kim Jong-un says ballistic missile ready for ‘action’ after test

22 May 2017

Kim Jong-un greets North Korean scientists

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says the intermediate-range ballistic missile that was tested yesterday is ready for “action”, according to the reclusive state’s news agency.

Key points:

  • North Korea confirmed reports of the launch made by South Korea, US
  • Kim Jong-un approved deployment of the weapon for action
  • US says economic and diplomatic pressure will be applied to North Korea

The test was reported by South Korea yesterday, and the KCNA news agency today released a statement claiming the launch was a success.

The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead which was recorded by a device mounted on the warhead, KCNA said.

Mr Kim supervised the launch of the Pukguksong-2 missile and was pleased with the results, KCNA said.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA said.

“Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong-un said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so beautiful,” it added.

North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally, saying the weapons are needed for legitimate self-defence.

The reclusive state has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland.

On Saturday it said it had developed the capability to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

The latest missile flew about 500 kilometres, reaching an altitude of 560 kilometres, and landed in waters off the North’s east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.

KCNA said the latest test followed the successful test last week of another missile that has put Hawaii and Alaska within range.

An official travelling with US President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia said the White House was aware of the latest launch and noted that the missile had a shorter range than the three previous missiles that North Korea had tested.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said economic and diplomatic pressure would continue to be applied to North Korea.