North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said Saturday the country’s second ICBM test demonstrated the ability to strike any target in the US, drawing a sharp rebuke from President Donald Trump who had already issued dire warnings over its missile program.
“Dear Leader Kim Jong-Un expressed great satisfaction with the perfectly successful test and praised its developers,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Saturday.
Kim said it demonstrated the North’s ability to launch “at any place and time,” KCNA reported, adding “the leader said proudly the test also confirmed all the US mainland is within our striking range.”
Trump denounced the launch as “reckless and dangerous” and rejected Pyongyang’s claims that such tests helped ensure its security.
“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” he said.
“The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said Beijing and Moscow bore responsibility for the growing threat posed by the reclusive North.
“As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability,” he said.
Analysts said the missile appeared to have a range of around 10,000 kilometers, which would put the US mainland with reach.
“Based on current information, today’s missile test by North Korea could easily reach the US West Coast, and a number of major US cities,” arms expert David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists said on his blog.
Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago appeared to be well within range of the missile which may also be capable of hitting Boston and New York, Wright said.
In a standard response to the test, Beijing urged restraint by all sides.
“China opposes North Korea’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions … At the same time, (China) hopes that all parties concerned will exercise caution and avoid intensifying tensions” on the Korean peninsula, a foreign ministry spokesman said.