North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says Pyongyang’s recently-tested medium-range missiles can target US military bases in the Pacific.
“We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theater,” said Kim on Wednesday, after claiming that the testing of two Musudan missiles had been successful.
He further hailed the tests as a “great event” which significantly boosted the North’s pre-emptive nuclear attack capabilities.
Earlier, US and South Korean military sources confirmed that the test launches had been carried out but cast doubt on their success.
Musudans are reported to have a theoretical range of 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers, making them capable of reaching South Korea, Japan and US military bases on Guam.
The launches have been slammed by the international community, with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon referring to them as “brazen and irresponsible act.”
“The continued pursuit by the DPRK of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles will only undermine its security and fail to improve the lives of its citizens,” said Ban’s spokesman Farhan Haq.
French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, June’s president of the 15-member UN Security Council, stated that the missile tests were an “unacceptable violation” of UN regulations.
“We want a quick and firm reaction of the Security Council on this,” said Delattre. “We hope that… we’ll have a press statement on this,” he said ahead of a Security Council meeting.
Seoul claims that the North attempted four test launches of the missile back in April and May, all of which failed.
Tensions have been flaring in the region since January, when North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, and vowed to ratchet up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
A month later, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket which it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington and Seoul denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
Pyongyang was recently placed under the toughest UN sanctions in two decades. The country, however, has pledged not to relinquish its nuclear power unless the US ends its hostile policy and dissolves the US-led military command in South Korea.