North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile that raised international alarms this week, state media reported.
Kim was present at the site of the Monday launch, joined by commanding officers of the DPRK Missile Administration, as he was briefed on the drill.
“The successful drill is a practical demonstration of the actual condition and reliability of the formidable striking capabilities and absolute nuclear war deterrent possessed by the DPRK’s armed forces,” Kim is reported as saying by Korea Central News Agency — one of North Korea’s state media outlets.
He reportedly added, “The U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces’ vicious ambition for confrontation will not abate of its own accord.”
The projectile, which has the capability of traveling more than 9,300 miles and reaching the mainland U.S., flew 73 minutes before landing in an area west of the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Reuters reported, citing Japan’s Defense Ministry and Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Shingo Miyake.
South Korea’s military said the North Korean missile was launched at an elevated angle in an apparent attempt to avoid neighboring countries.
Japanese lawmaker Masahisa Sato, citing Japan’s Defense Ministry, also said the missile rose as high as 3,730 miles.
KCNA waxed poetic about the success of the ICBM, writing, “The moment [of the launch], a huge body full of the absolute will and strength to mercilessly retaliate against the hostile forces obsessed with the ambition for nuclear confrontation with the DPRK began soaring into the sky with a shower of fire in its tail, making a deafening explosion.”
The ICBM launch came after North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile into the sea on Sunday, South Korea said, with Pyongyang blaming the U.S. for escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
That missile – like Monday’s launch – was fired off North Korea’s east coast near its capital of Pyongyang and flew 354 miles before landing in the sea.
South Korea criticized the Sunday launch as a “clear violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions that have banned the North from using ballistic technologies.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.