North Korea said on Wednesday its newly developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) can carry a large nuclear warhead, triggering a call by Washington for global action to hold it accountable for pursuing nuclear weapons.
The US Defence Department said it had concluded that North Korea test-launched an ICBM, on Tuesday, which some experts now believe had the range to reach the US state of Alaska as well as parts of the mainland US.
US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said the test, on the eve of the US Independence Day holiday, represented “a new escalation of the threat’’ to the US and its allies, and vowed to take stronger measures.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, said the test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, the state KCNA news agency said.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying Pyongyang would not negotiate with the US to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North.
“He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the US would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day’,’’ KCNA said.
The KCNA news agency said that Kim ordered them to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees,’’ it.
The launch came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations are due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons programme, which it has pursued in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.
The test successfully verified the technical requirements of the newly developed ICBM in stage separation, the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead and the late-stage control of the warhead.
Tillerson warned that any country that hosts North Korean workers, provides economic or military aid to Pyongyang, or fails to implement UN sanctions “is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime’’.
“All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons,’’ Tillerson said in a statement.
The launch also came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons programme, which it has pursued in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been urging China, North Korea’s main trading partner and only big ally, to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programme.
Trump has indicated he is running out of patience with Beijing’s efforts to rein in North Korea.
Trump is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 meeting in Germany on Friday.
The UN Security Council, currently chaired by China, will hold an emergency meeting on the matter at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Wednesday, following a request by the U. S., Japan and South Korea.
Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbour, and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.
A 2015 U.N. document estimated that more than 50,000 North Korean workers were overseas earning currencies for the regime, with the vast majority in China and Russia. (NAN)