North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, accompanied by his daughter, personally oversaw the recent test-firing of the country’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile, state media images showed Friday.
The launch on Thursday, Pyongyang’s second ICBM test this year, involved a Hwasong-17 missile, in response to “frantic” US-South Korea joint military drills.
Photographs in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed Kim watching the black-and-white Hwasong-17, dubbed a “monster missile” by analysts, blast off into the sky.
Some of the images showed him watching the launch with his daughter, never named by state media but identified as his second child Ju Ae by South Korean intelligence.
KCNA said the launch “confirmed the war readiness of the ICBM unit”, adding that it “had no negative impact on the security” of neighbouring countries.
South Korea had previously said the missile was fired on a lofted trajectory — up instead of out, typically done to avoid overflying neighbouring countries.
Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, and Kim recently called for an “exponential” increase in weapons production, including tactical nukes.
Overseeing the Thursday launch, Kim said North Korea would “react to nuclear weapons with nukes” and called for “irreversibly bolstering up the nuclear war deterrent”, according to KCNA.