Kim Jong-un says latest missile was fired ‘to strike fear into the enemies’

The test launch comes as South Korea and Japan agreed to work closely on regional security with the US and staged military exercises around the region.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of the Hwasong-17 missile and stressed the need to ‘strike fear into the enemies’ over what it called the ‘open hostility’ shown to the North by the US-South Korea exercises.

Launched at a high angle to avoid the territory of North Korea’s neighbours, the missile reached a maximum altitude of 6,045 kilometres (3,756 miles) and travelled 1,000 kilometres (621 miles).

It landed in waters off the country’s eastern coast, KCNA said.

The South Korean and Japanese militaries assessed the flight, indicating the the US mainland is within the missile’s range.

It remains unclear whether North Korea has developed nuclear bombs small enough to fit on its long-range rockets or the technology to ensure its warheads survive atmospheric re-entry when fired at a normal trajectory.

North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos of Mr Kim watching from afar as the missile blasted off from a launch vehicle parked on an airport runway.

Mr Kim was accompanied by a girl who appeared to be his daughter, believed to be named Kim Ju Ae and about 10-years-old.

She has accompanied him to several military events since she was publicly revealed for the first time during another ICBM launch in November.

Analysts say the intent of her public appearances at military events is to tie the dynastic rule of Mr Kim’s family to the nuclear arsenal Mr Kim sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival.

Rodong Sinmun also published photos implied to have been taken by a camera on the missile as it soared into space. They showed a rounded view of the Earth, with clouds scattered over what appeared to be the Korean Peninsula and Asian coastline.

Source of data and images: metro

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