Pyongyang to continue improving weapons capabilities: Kim Jong-un

Seoul, Mar 28 (EFE).- North Korea’s leader said his country would continue to develop “powerful striking capabilities” to strengthen its defense during an event held to celebrate the recent launch of its new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), stat news agency KCNA reported Monday.

As in previous ICBM launches, Kim Jong-un took a photo with all the personnel involved in the development and testing of the country’s biggest-yet missile test-fired last week.

During the event, held over the weekend in Pyongyang, Kim “expressed once again our party’s will for building the strong defense capabilities to defend the security and future of our country and people by more reliable and perfect and stronger, overwhelming strategic force,” according to KCNA.

Kim added that “defense capabilities in the true sense of (the) word precisely mean the powerful striking capabilities.”

The leader said he vowed to “continue to attain the defense up-building goal and develop much more powerful strike means to equip our army with them.”

Present at the event were Kim Jong-sik and Jang Chang-ha, two of the leading figures in the development of the regime’s most sophisticated missiles.

Following the photo session, “the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea gave a reception for the officials, scientists, technicians and workers in the field of defense industry who contributed to the successful test-fire of new-type ICBM Hwasongpho-17,” KCNA reported.

The launch of the Hwasong-17 – with an estimated range of 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) – was the first ICBM test by North Korea since 2017, breaking the moratorium that it self-imposed in 2018 when entering diplomacy with the United States.

North Korea claimed it launched the Hwasong-17 for the first time on Mar. 25 after unveiling it in 2020 although many analysts have found inconsistencies in this statement based on the images that North Korea released of the test.

South Korea’s military said Sunday, based on data captured by a satellite equipped with infrared thermal sensors, North Korea didn’t fire a Hwasong-17 on Thursday, but possibly an improved version of the Hwasong-15, an ICBM Pyongyang successfully tested in 2017, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Experts said that regardless of the type of missile, the latest launch sends a clear message from Pyongyang, unwilling to engage in dialog and focused on increasingly strengthening its nuclear deterrence assets. EFE


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