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Pyongyang calls latest medium-range missile test a ‘prelude to containing Guam’

North Korea has announced that its latest test of Hwasong-12 missile, observed by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, was a successful demonstration of Pyongyang’s determination to counter any potential threat stemming from the US’ joint drills with South Korea.

“This ballistic rocket launch drill… is the first step in military operations on the Pacific Ocean conducted by our troops and will be a meaningful prelude to containing Guam Island,” the North’s official KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying.

Pyongyang claimed the intermediate-range missile landed in a designated area and never posed any threat to neighboring countries. It also praised the test as proof of its full “combat performance” and “strategic capability.”

The missile launch was also a “prelude to decisive countermeasures against joint military exercises,” should Washington’s “belligerent aggression” continue, the statement added.

On Tuesday, North Korea launched a missile which passed through Japan’s northern airspace and triggered a barrage of criticism from the international community.

The rocket flew an estimated 2,700 kilometers, which indicates that Pyongyang’s threat to fire missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam was not a bluff, warned Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Federation Council.

Earlier, Pyongyang threatened to “contain Guam” by launching several missiles into waters some 30-40 kilometers off the island in order to demonstrate its technical capabilities to strike US bases there. The threat prompted US president Donald Trump to warn the North that it would face American “fire and fury” if its actions posed any danger to the United States.

“All options are on the table,” Trump said on Tuesday, after discussing North Korea’s threatening and destabilizing actions with regional partners in Seoul and Tokyo. Trump concluded that pressure on Pyongyang should further be ramped up.

 

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