Sept. 16 (UPI) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to complete the country’s nuclear program, saying that its final goal is to establish an “equilibrium” of military force with the U.S., its state media said Saturday.
Kim made the remark during his inspection of the launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan a day earlier, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea on Friday fired a ballistic missile from Pyongyang that crossed over Japan. It flew around 3,700 kilometers while reaching a maximum altitude of some 770 km.
“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.
He underlined “the need to put an end to them with the all-state efforts as it has nearly reached the terminal,” he added.
It marked the second missile launch over Japan in less than a month. It also followed the wayward regime’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.
“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option” for North Korea, Kim said.
Kim, in addition, called on the North’s scientists and technicians to “put rockets on a modern and ultra modern basis and develop the operation level onto a higher stage with their close combination” — remarks that some observers say hinted at the possibility of additional provocations from Pyongyang.
The photo of the launch, released by the North’s daily Rodong Sinmun, showed that the Hwasong-12 missile was fired from a road-mobile launcher — an indication of enhanced mobility. The North was seen using a fixed launchpad to fire the same missile in May and last month.
Friday’s provocation came days after the U.N. Security Council slapped fresh sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test.
North Korea said Wednesday that it “categorically” rejected the U.N. sanctions, vowing to strengthen its nuclear program at a faster pace.
Pyongyang is seeking to develop nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. It fired Hwasong-14 ICBMs twice in July.
Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington heightened as the North pushed ahead with provocative acts in defiance of international condemnation.
North Korea earlier threatened to fire a salvo of missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, where key U.S. military bases are located. It held off on the plan, saying it will watch the U.S. attitude some more.
Experts said that Friday’s firing apparently showed Pyongyang’s capacity to strike Guam, located some 3,400 kilometers from North Korea.
The North claimed that the work “for increasing combat power of Hwasong-12 has been realized.”