N.Korea says new ICBMs will contain ‘dangerous’ US; Washington is seeking new sanctions

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a window during the test firing, according to a state media report
FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on in this undated photo released on the 24th March 2019 News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

March 25, 2022

By Josh Smith and Michelle Nichols

SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea said on Friday the launch of a large new intercontinental ballistic missile this week was designed to demonstrate the might of its nuclear forces and deter any US military moves.

The United States responded that it would urge the UN Security Council to “update and strengthen sanctions” against North Korea over its “increasingly dangerous provocations,” a move Pyongyang’s allies China and Russia are likely to resist.

Thursday’s launch marked the first full ICBM test by nuclear-armed North Korea since 2017. Flight data showed the missile flew higher and longer than any of North Korea’s previous tests before crashing into the sea west of Japan.

What North Korea is calling the Hwasong-17 would be the largest liquid-propelled missile ever launched by any country from a road-mobile launch vehicle, analysts say.

Its range and size suggest North Korea plans to arm it with multiple warheads that could hit multiple targets, or decoys to confuse missile defenses, they say.

The leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union condemned the test as a “reckless” threat to peace and security and a danger to international civil aviation and maritime shipping. They said it required a common response.

North Korea’s return to weapons testing, which experts believe is capable of attacking the United States, is an unwelcome additional challenge for President Joe Biden as he responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

North Korea’s recent ICBM launches and nuclear tests in 2017 prompted UN Security Council sanctions, but the United States and its allies are at odds with Russia and China over the Ukraine war, making such a response more difficult.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, nevertheless announced a new sanctions initiative at a meeting of the 15-member Security Council on Friday.

North Korea’s nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches have long been banned by the Security Council and are subject to sanctions that have been tightened over the years.

While backing sanctions in 2017, China and Russia have since pushed for their relaxation to encourage North Korea to return to denuclearization talks with the United States and others.

“Now is not the time to end our sanctions, now is the time to enforce them,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Offering sanctions relief without substantive diplomatic progress would only bring more revenue to the regime and accelerate the achievement of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic weapons goals.”

China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, told the council that “neither party should take any action that would increase tensions,” adding, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name: “The US may not meet the legitimate demands of the Do not continue to sideline DPRK . It should offer an attractive proposition to pave the way for a resumption of dialogue in the near future.”

The Russian RIA news agency previously quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that Russia and China had agreed to coordinate closely on the situation in Korea.

At a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and China’s representative to the Korean peninsula, “concerns were expressed about recent developments in the subregion,” the statement said, adding that they stressed the need to continue efforts to find fair political and diplomatic Relationship Strengthening Solutions.

North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong Un ordered the test because of “daily escalating military tensions in and around the Korean Peninsula” and the “inevitability of a longstanding confrontation with US imperialists, accompanied by the threat of nuclear war.” .

“The strategic forces … are fully prepared to thoroughly contain and contain any dangerous military attempts by the US imperialists,” Kim said while overseeing the launch.

It came after the election of a new, conservative South Korean government that has promised a tougher military strategy against North Korea.

Speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping after the launch, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol called for close coordination on the full denuclearization of North Korea, his office said. Xi said Beijing and Seoul should strengthen mutual political trust, Chinese state media said.

After the test, China warned “all sides” to exercise restraint.


Washington on Thursday announced its own sanctions against two Russian companies, one Russian and one North Korean, and the foreign affairs office of North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences for leaking sensitive items to North Korea’s missile program.

Kim said the test would help convince the world of the power of his strategic powers.

“All armed forces should be aware of the fact that they have to pay a very high price before they dare to violate the security of our country,” he said.

North Korean state media showed a massive rocket, painted black with a white nose cone, rising on a launch vehicle’s pillar of flame.

It said the Hwasong-17 flew 1,090 km (680 miles) to an altitude of 6,248.5 km (3,905 miles) and hit a target in the sea. Similar numbers were reported by Japan and South Korea.

Seoul-based website NK Pro said discrepancies in the images and video in state media suggested it may have been filmed on different dates, raising the possibility that North Korea was hiding details.

Pyongyang has never admitted what South Korea described as a failed launch from the same airport last week, and on Thursday South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted unnamed officials as saying they were checking into the latest test possibly for a smaller Hwasong-15 ICBM traded test fired in November 2017.

Officials in Seoul and Washington earlier said launches on Feb. 27 and March 5 involved portions of the Hwasong-17 ICBM, likely in preparation for a full test.

North Korea called Thursday’s test a “conspicuous display of great military strength.”

Kim, who can be seen in the video at the launch site in a leather jacket and sunglasses, called it a “miraculous” and “priceless” victory for the Korean people.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul, David Brunnstrom in Washington, and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Robert Birsel, Philippa Fletcher, and Daniel Wallis) N.Korea says new ICBMs will contain ‘dangerous’ US; Washington is seeking new sanctions

Bobby Allyn

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