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North Korean state media has released photos of Tuesday’s launch of a missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean, almost 1,700 miles away. The photos show the missile launch, as well as leader Kim Jong Un watching it.
After the missile was launched, President Donald Trump issued a statement, calling it a “loud and clear” message from Pyongyang that showed it has “contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”
Trump added, “Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regimes isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”
Trump also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who called the missile launch “an unprecedented serious and grave threat to Japan,” reports CNN. Abe added, “I would like to make the utmost effort to protect the lives and assets of the Japanese people under a strong alliance between Japan and US.”
The statement released by KCNA that accompanied the photos released late Tuesday confirms that Un “guided an intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket launching drill,” with other government members and KPA Strategic Force leaders standing by. “Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force tasked with striking the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces located in the Pacific operational theater in contingency and intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,” the statement reads.
The statement notes that the rocket launch was part of the “muscle-flexing” meant to counter recent joint-military exercises between the U.S., South Korea and Japan. “Kim Jong Un expressed great satisfaction over the successful launching,” the statement reads.
Officers and men of the KPA Strategic Force extended the warmest thanks to Kim Jong Un, peerless patriot and hero of the nation, who gave vent to the long-pent grudge of the Korean people by mapping out a bold plan to make the cruel Japanese islanders insensible on bloody Aug. 29 when the disgraceful “Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty” was proclaimed 107 years ago and approving ballistic rocket launching in the capital region, and pledged that once the Party Central Committee issues an order, they will fulfill their sacred mission and duty as the reliable nuclear force of the WPK in the van of the final sacred war which will win victory in the standoff with imperialism and the U.S.
It’s believed that the missile was a Hwasong-12, which could carry a nuclear warhead. The Times reports that it was sent without warning, but the Japanese government noticed it in time to give a warning to citizens. As The Guardian notes, the missiles have an estimated 3,700-6,000 km range and stand 16 meters tall. Its trajectory took it over the Japanese island Hokkaido and it landed just 733 miles of the island’s coast.
According to the New York Times, this was the first realistic test of the kind of missile North Korea threatened to launch off the coast of Guam earlier this month. Previous missile tests during Kim’s reign have hit water without going as far as Japan.