PYONGYANG: North Korea said it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of “striking the whole US mainland”.
Pyongyang claimed the nuclear-capable missile, known as Hwasong-15, is the most powerful weapon it has ever tested.
In a broadcast on state television, the isolated state added that the new ICBM was “significantly more” powerful than the previous two long-range weapons it tested, and it is capable of carrying a “super-large heavy warhead”.
Kim Jong Un added that Hwasong-15 “met the goal of its missile development”.
The missile flew 590 miles (950km) to an altitude of 2,781 miles (4,475km) for 53 minutes – more than 10 times the height of the international space station.
North Korea said its nuclear weapons pose no threat to any country as long as its own interests are not infringed upon.
Ri Chun Hee, the veteran newsreader who is relied upon to deliver major announcements, said: “The development and advancement of the strategic weapon of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from the US imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat, and to ensure the peaceful life of the people, and therefore, they would not pose any threat to any country and region as long as the interests of the DPRK are not infringed upon.”
The launch was detected after it was fired early on Wednesday morning local time from a site near the capital city.
The ICBM appears to have been launched from Pyongsong, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff, over the sea between South Korea and Japan.
Mr Kim was pictured just hours before the announcement touring a catfish factory.
Following the test, President Donald Trump said “we will take care of it” when questioned about the missile launch.
A US government source confirmed the launch and the Pentagon has said there is no threat to the US or its allies.
An unnamed South Korean lawmaker told Yonhap that the South’s intelligence agency has not ruled out another nuclear test by the North.
Japan’s defence minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile broke up before it landed in the sea, inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.