North Korea’s state media announced that dictator Kim Jong-un “personally supervised” and “meticulously guided” its latest missile launch on Wednesday, claiming he directed the missile to fly at a high angle such that it fell into the Sea of Japan.
The North Korean military launched what it claimed was a new model intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday called the “Hwasong-15.”
“The test-fire of the inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15 was successfully conducted on November 29 under the guidance of Kim Jong-un,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) asserted. “Kim Jong-un personally supervised the whole course of the test-fire.”
Japanese observers, according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, tracked the missile as it reached a 4,000-kilometer (2485 miles) peak height before flying down and crashing into the Sea of Japan. Japan’s Kyodo News cites experts who state that, if launched at a lower angle, the missile could reach almost all of the U.S. mainland.
KCNA gives Kim full credit for the “impeccable” missile launch.
“He indicated the orientation of developing a new type rocket that can make the final victory of the country in the showdown with the U.S. imperialists and gave detailed instructions every day to the Academy of Defence Science for doing so and thus made sure that the Hwasong-15 weapon system was successfully completed,” KCNA added.
Upon the launch of the missile, Kim reportedly “expressed great satisfaction over the fact that such vehicles can be manufactured as many as the country wants now that the munitions industry has made a breakthrough in putting the production of all parts of the vehicle on a domestic and Juche basis 100 percent.”
“Juche,” which roughly translates to “self-reliance,” is the state philosophy of North Korea, founded by dictator Kim Il-sung and urging North Koreans not to depend on the international community to live. In reality, North Korea’s economy depends almost entirely upon China’s largess, given its lack of production in most industries and chronic food and medical shortages.
The missile launch, KCNA claimed, meant that North Korea had achieved “the historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” There is no evidence that the Hwasong-15 was carrying a nuclear payload, however, or that it is capable of doing so.
North Korea has long been working to construct an ICBM that can carry a nuclear warhead all the way to the U.S. mainland. KCNA and other North Korean state outlets routinely threaten some form of nuclear annihilation on the United States. This latest test follows the announcement that the communist regime had successfully tested a nuclear weapon for the sixth time in September. KCNA claimed the weapon tested was a “perfect” hydrogen bomb and once again claimed that Kim personally “guided” the test using his alleged military expertise.
The international community reacted with immediate condemnation to the missile test. Japan, which is closest to the North Korean line of fire if they test missiles shooting them east, objected “in the strongest terms” to the missile test. President Donald Trump promised “major sanctions” against North Korea without specifying.
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned 13 North Korean and Chinese companies just last week for enriching the Kim regime. President Trump also announced that the State Department would return North Korea to its state sponsors of terrorism list for, among other actions, the suspected assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the dictator’s brother, with a banned chemical weapon in Malaysia last year. North Korea’s state media responded to the designation by declaring that the United States was “the world’s biggest known terrorism sponsor.”
Trump also spoke to Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday, reportedly urging China—North Korea’s largest trading partner—to cut ties to the fellow communist country and help curtail Kim’s belligerent behavior.
“This situation will be handled!” Trump asserted on Twitter.