15 May 2017
North Korea said on Monday that the missile it launched a day earlier was a new ballistic missile that can carry a large, heavy nuclear warhead, warning that the United States’ military bases in the Pacific were within its range.
North Korea launched what American officials called an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday from the northwestern town of Kusong. The missile, believed to have a longer range than any other North Korean missile tested so far, landed in the sea between the North and Japan, sparking angry comments from President Trump, as well as from President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said on Monday that the new ground-to-ground missile, Hwasong-12, hit the targeted open water 489 miles away after soaring to an altitude of 1,312 miles. The missile was launched at a deliberately high angle so it would not fall too close to a neighboring country, the news agency said.
The flight data announced by the North roughly matched that released by Japanese and South Korean officials hours after the launch.
The missile test was conducted to verify “the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size, heavy nuclear warhead,” the state news agency said, adding that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, watched the launch.
“He declared that the D.P.R.K. is a nuclear power worthy of the name whether someone recognizes it or not,” said the agency, using the acronym of the North’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
If the United States provokes North Korea, Mr. Kim said, it will not escape “the biggest disaster in history” because “its mainland and Pacific operation region are in the D.P.R.K.’s sighting range for strike,” according to the news agency.