North Korea has released new images of its missile tests carried out on Thursday, claiming the missiles it launched were a “new-type of tactical guided projectile”, in its first statement since the test.
The Thursday, March 25, launch was the country’s first ballistic launch in almost a year and the first since Joe Biden became US President.
In response to the launch, Biden has said the US will “respond accordingly” as under UN Security Council resolutions, North Korea is banned from testing ballistic missiles
The US, Japan and South Korea have since condemned the tests.
North Korea’s Friday statement, issued through state media outlet KCNA, says the two weapons struck a test target 600km (373 miles) off North Korea’s east coast, which goes contrary to Japan’s assessments that they flew just over 400km.
The statement added that the new missile is able to carry a payload of 2.5 tons, making it capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
State media said the missile had an “improved version of a solid fuel engine” and described it as a tactical guided missile that could perform “gliding and pull-up” manoeuvres, which could mean it is harder to intercept.
The State media released a picture of the missile being launched and also released a photo of North Korea’s generals clapping at the launches.
Supreme leader, Kim Jong Un was not present during the launch.
“The development of this weapon system is of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country and deterring all sorts of military threats,” Ri Pyong Chol, the senior leader who oversaw the test, was quoted by KCNA as saying.
The recent missile test comes after North Korea warned the United States not to cause “a stink” and that the Biden administration would “pay a price” if they miscalculated against North Korea.
Biden told reporters that the launch was a violation of UN resolutions and that the US was consulting with partners and allies.
“There will be responses – if they choose to escalate, we will respond accordingly,” he said.
“But I’m also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearisation.”
The test highlights the progress the country’s weapons programme has made since denuclearisation talks with the US stalled under former President Donald Trump.