The North Korean leader and his wife have held a grand banquet to celebrate the July 28 launch of an intercontinental missile, which was attended by officers responsible for the launch and officials from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Among those attending the banquet held by Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang were Ri Man-gon, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Kim Rak-gyom, head of North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper and state news agency KCNA reports.
The event also featured an orchestra performance and a choir.
“The great success in the second test-fire of Hwasong-14 has established a new world political structure with socialist Korea as its axis,” Ri said during his speech, according to KCNA.
He also urged the country “to ceaselessly produce new-type ballistic rockets … and to make a series of successes in the field of defense scientific research.”
North Korea on Friday successfully launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile.
The Hwasong-14 missile flew 998 kilometres for about 47 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 3,724.9 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan, also called the “East Sea” by the two Koreas.
After the test, Pyongyang claimed that the rocket could reach any part of the United States.
US show of force
News of the latest missile launch was not greeted as warmly by US officials.
The US launched bombers and deployed its THAAD anti-missile system in an angry show of force in response to the missile test.
The US flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday in response.
On Monday morning (AEST), the US Missile Defense Agency announced the US had successfully shot down a medium-range missile in a test of its South Korean-based THAAD missile defence system.
The THAAD test was planned before the latest North Korean missile test and involved a medium-range missile, not the long-range types being tested by Pyongyang.
US President Donald Trump took aim at China and its perceived inaction over North Korea in angry tweets Sunday.
President Trump said he was “very disappointed in China”, which he said profits from trade with the US but does “NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue,” he said.
“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said in the statement.
“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing”.
The US has in the past used overflights of the supersonic B1-B “Lancer” bomber as a show of force in response to North Korean missile or nuclear tests.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the midnight test launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a “stern warning” for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tries to attack, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
North Korea’s state television broadcast pictures of the launch, showing the missile lifting off in a fiery blast in darkness and Kim cheering with military aides.
– with AP, RAW, EFE