Defiant North Korea leader says he will complete nuke program

2017-09-16 07:30
(AP)

(AP)

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Seoul - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of "equilibrium" in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North's "highly provocative" ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim's comments on Saturday — a day after US and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3 700 kilometers as it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country's longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on August 29.

Under Kim's watch, North Korea has maintained a torrid pace in weapons tests, including its most powerful nuclear test to date on September 3 and two July flight tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike deep into the US mainland when perfected.

The tests, which could potentially make launches over Japan an accepted norm, are also seen as North Korea's attempt to win greater military freedom in the region and raise doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a US city to protect them.

Read more on:    kim jong un  |  north korea  |  us
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