North Korea said Saturday it aims to reach military “equilibrium” with the United States which earlier hinted its patience for diplomacy is running out after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.
North Korea successfully fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, responding to a new round of UN sanctions over its sixth nuclear test with its furthest-ever missile flight.
“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to a report carried by the official KCNA news agency.
Kim said the country was close to the goal of completing its nuclear ambitions and should use all power at its disposal to finish the task, saying it had “nearly reached the terminal”, the official KCNA news agency reported.
“The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,” said Kim.
The UN Security Council condemned Friday’s launch as “highly provocative” and US President Donald Trump scheduled talks with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to address the crisis.
“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.
Seoul’s defence ministry said it probably travelled around 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometres.
Yang Uk, an analyst with the Korea Defence and Security Forum, told AFP that Kim’s stated ambition of achieving a military balance was some way off.
“It’s too unrealistic for North Korea to reach equilibrium in nuclear force with the US,” he said.
Also on Friday, the U.N. Security Council condemned the “highly provocative” missile launch by North Korea.
It had already stepped up sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear bomb test on Sept. 3, imposing a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil, according to Reuters.