North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to build an “overwhelming” and unstoppable military force, state media reported Monday.
Kim’s statement comes after the launch of a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile three days ago, in the first test of its kind since 2017, conducted by the nuclear-armed country.
“The test-firing of the new ICBM Hwasong-17 of the Strategic Forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was conducted on March 24 (…) under the direct guidance of Kim Jong Un,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
“Only when one is equipped with formidable offensive capabilities and with overwhelming force that no one can stop” can the country “contain and control all threats and blackmail from the imperialists,” Kim was quoted as telling the launch team.
“We will continue to achieve the goal of strengthening national defense capabilities,” he added.
The Hwasong-17 is a massive ballistic missile dubbed the “Monster Missile”, which was first revealed in October 2020, but has not yet been successfully tested.
A ballistic missile capable of hitting any part of the US territory landed in Japan’s Maritime Economic Zone.
Kim Jong Un said – according to the agency – that the new intercontinental ballistic missile will make “the whole world (…) realize the strength of our strategic armed forces,” stressing that the country is “now ready for a long-term confrontation with the American imperialists.”
Pyongyang is subject to international sanctions over its missile and nuclear programs, but it nonetheless continues to modernize its military capabilities.
Last January, it began hinting at the possibility of abandoning the self-sustainment of tests, and this year it conducted a record number of weapons tests, including hypersonic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles.
But the tests have not yet included ICBMs, even if Washington and Seoul suspect that the North Korean regime tested ICBMs during its previous tests.