Communist dictator of North Korea Kim Jong-un declared through state media on Wednesday that the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was necessary to “clearly show what action the DPRK [North Korea] has been prepared and what option the DPRK would take when Washington makes a wrong decision against it.”
Kim’s remarks were paraphrased in an article by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the flagship propaganda outlet of the North Korean regime. News outlets and media not controlled by the state are illegal in North Korea.
In the article, KCNA confirmed that the launch of a long-range missile into the East Sea (or Sea of Japan) on Monday was an ICBM test, naming the missile in question as the “Hwasong-18,” North Korea’s latest publicly known model. Pyongyang debuted the Hwasong-18 in July and claimed that it could accurately hit a target anywhere in the continental United States with a nuclear payload.
North Korea launched the ICBM on the same day that it boasted of a visit by Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho to Beijing, where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi allegedly greeted him warmly and vowed that the Chinese Communist Party would continue to back the neighboring rogue regime.
“In a world fraught with change and instability, China and the DPRK [North Korea] have firmly supported and trusted each other, which demonstrates the strategic significance of China-DPRK friendship and cooperation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday. “We would like to work with the DPRK to enhance communication and coordination, deepen exchanges and cooperation in various areas … and advance the sustained and steady growth of China-DPRK friendship and cooperation.”
KCNA attributed the decision to launch the ICBM not to China’s steadfast support of the rogue state, but to defense cooperation between South Korea, America, and Japan meant to track North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program. North and South Korea are technically locked in a state of war that began in 1950, although active hostilities ended in 1953. China and the United States are involved in the Korean War as respective allies to the two sides.
“The present situation clearly shows the inveterate confrontation stand of the U.S. and its predominant stooges keen on their unchangeable instinctive and constitutional ambition for aggression,” KCNA claimed in its commentary, “and predicts a black augury of total destruction of the security environment in the Korean peninsula to be further aggravated.”
In the face of a “black augury of total destruction,” Kim ordered the missile launch to ensure that the United States was aware that he was prepared to use nuclear weapons against America, KCNA continued.
“Under the decision of the WPK Central Military Commission on neutralizing the enemies’ intentional and premeditated confrontational military threats with our strong behavioral warning,” it explained, “a drill of launching ICBM Hwasongpho-18 was staged as an important military action to clearly show the DPRK’s nuclear strategic forces’ overwhelming counteraction will and matchless strength to the enemies.”
North Korea described the ICBM launch as a “drill” to ensure “the combat readiness of the DPRK’s nuclear war deterrence.” It also claimed that Kim was personally on hand and guided the missile launch. He allegedly expressed “great satisfaction” with the test.
“Noting that it was an occasion to clearly show what action the DPRK has been prepared and what option the DPRK would take when Washington makes a wrong decision against it,” the outlet reported, “he appreciated that the drill once again and strikingly displayed the DPRK’s will for toughest counteraction and its overwhelming strength.”
America, South Korea, and Japan held joint military exercises in the skies around the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday, the South Korean outlet Yonhap reported, following the Hwasong-18 launch. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that the exercises were “planned,” and thus not necessarily a direct response to the missile, but nonetheless meant “to strengthen the three countries’ capabilities to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, including its firing of a solid-fuel ICBM, and to demonstrate the strong resolve for joint response.” The exercises featured the presence of an American B-1B strategic bomber, but no American nuclear-capable aircraft.
The ICBM launch is the latest in a string of North Korean provocations, which Washington has largely treated as a second-tier issue under leftist President Joe Biden. In November, Pyongyang announced that it had launched a spy satellite – succeeding after two prior failed attempts – meant to monitor the United States. KCNA claimed that the satellite was taking photographs of the White House, the Pentagon, and other strategic locations, though it did not publish any proof. The North Korean regime has also attempted to outrage with West with enthusiastic support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which peaked with dictator Kim Jong-un visiting Russia in September. Russia gifted Kim “kamikaze drones” upon his return home, appearing to violate United Nations sanctions.