Apparently indifferent to harsh new sanctions implemented against the country over nuclear and ballistic missile tests earlier this year, Pyongyang carried out new intermediate-range missile trials on Wednesday. While the first test launch fell into the Sea of Japan, according to US and South Korean military officials, Pyongyang claims the second was a success.
The Musudan missiles – known as Hwasong-10 by the North – have a range of 3,000 miles and reveal "technical progress in terms of its engine capacity," according to South Korean military spokesman Jeon Ha-gyu.
If true, it means that Pyongyang has a missile capable of striking not only South Korea and Japan, but also US territory in Guam.
"We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theater," Kim said, according to the DPRK’s KCNA news agency.
According to Debkafile, Kim’s untranslated comments were a little more colorful, claiming that Pyongyang now has the "+clear ability" to "totally and realistically attack American bastards…[in the] operational zone of the Pacific Ocean."
The United Nations has condemned North Korea’s actions, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon describing the latest tests as a "brazen and irresponsible act."
"All expressed a strong concern as well as their opposition [to] these launches," Alexis Lamek, Deputy UN Ambassador of France, told reporters.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Markus Schiller, founder of tech consultantcy ST Analytics, echoed the commonly accepted belief of observing that North Korea’s pursuit of a ballistic missile is aimed at sending a message to the Pentagon.
"They want to show the US that they can actually hurt them, and that’s the only reason for this missile. They will not need it to fight a war against South Korea," he says.
Pyongyang is believed to be in possession of 30 Musudan missiles.