North Korea said on Saturday it was seeking a military “balance” with the United States, as leader Kim Jong-Un promised to complete Pyongyang’s nuclear program, which he said “almost reaches the terminal.”
North Korea successfully fired a Hwasong-12 mid-range ballistic missile on Friday in response to a new round of UN sanctions in its sixth nuclear test with its largest missile flight.
“Our ultimate goal is to balance the real force with the United States and ensure that US leaders do not listen to a military option for the DPRK,” Kim said. report published by the official KCNA agency.
Kim said the country is close to the goal of completing its nuclear ambitions and should use all the power it has to complete the task, saying it had “almost reached the terminal,” the official KCNA news agency reported.
Kim said Friday’s launch, which he called drill rather than testing, had boosted the North’s “nuclear power”, KCNA said.
“We should show clearly to the great power chauvinists how our state achieves the goal of complementing its nuclear force despite its unlimited sanctions and blockades,” Kim said, according to KCNA.
The UN Security Council condemned Friday’s launch as “highly provocative” and US President Donald Trump has planned talks with leaders of Japan and South Korea to deal with the crisis.
“As Kim Jong-Un’s latest release demonstrates, it’s one of the world’s most urgent and dangerous security issues,” said US National Security Adviser H. McMaster.
– “Unrealistic” balance –
The United States Pacific Command confirmed Friday’s rocket was an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it posed no threat to North America or to the peaceful territory of Guam, which Pyongyang threatened with “surrounding fire.”
The Seoul Defense Department said it traveled some 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometers.
Yang Uk, an analyst at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, told AFP that Kim’s stated ambition to achieve a military balance was somewhat distant.
“It is very unrealistic that North Korea reaches the balance of the nuclear force with the United States, although it is true that the North has advanced rapidly in its nuclear training,” he said. saying.
The north has raised global tensions with its rapid advances in weapon technology under Kim’s leadership, which is regularly represented by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.
“The latest launch, apparently carried out from a TEL (transport launcher or transport missile) rather than an impromptu launch pad, means that the North is now ready to deploy the Hwasong-12 IRBM for combat purposes,” He said.
The earliest launch of the northern missile, a Hwasong-12 IRBM just over two weeks ago, also flew over the main islands of Japan and was the first to do for years.
“Within three to five years, the North should be able to run nuclear missiles as a deterrent,” Yang said.
– Convocation of conversations –
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, jointly called for talks with North Korea, saying it was the only way to resolve tensions over its nuclear program.
The crisis requires a resolution “exclusively by political and diplomatic means, resumption of direct negotiations,” a Kremlin statement said after a telephone call between leaders.
The appeal was addressed to the United States and Japan, countries calling for faster sanctions rather than waiting for talks.
Russia and China, North Korea’s main ally, backed a US-backed Security Council resolution that imposes new sanctions on Pyongyang but maintains a dialogue that is essential to defuse the crisis.
Washington has rejected “insulting” a proposal by China to start talks with a freezing of nuclear and missile tests in North Korea in exchange for a suspension of exercises between the United States and South Korea.
The sanctions imposed on Monday banned textile trade in the north, suspended new work permits for workers and imposed restrictions on shipments of petroleum products, among other measures.