North Korea's missile launch being supervised by Kim Jong Un and his daughter.

State media photographs on Friday showed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the most potent intercontinental ballistic missile’s recent test-firing while accompanied by his daughter.

According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the launch on Thursday—the second Pyongyang’s ICBM test this year—involved a Hwasong-17 missile and was carried out in reaction to “frantic” joint military exercises between the US and South Korea.
Images published in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed Kim witnessing the Hwasong-17, called a “monster missile” by analysts, launch into the sky in black and white.

Others of the pictures showed him watching the launch with his daughter, who state media never named but who South Korean intelligence recognized as his second child Ju Ae.

Moreover, pictures of the Earth from space that were allegedly captured by a camera mounted on an ICBM were disseminated by state media.

The launch, according to KCNA, “proved the battle readiness of the ICBM unit,” and it “had no adverse impact on the security” of surrounding nations.

Prior to this, South Korea claimed the missile was launched on a lofted trajectory, which is generally used to prevent overflying nearby nations.

Kim recently called for an “exponential” increase in the development of weapons, including tactical nukes. North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power last year.

Kim, who oversaw the launch on Thursday, is reported to have declared that North Korea would “respond to nuclear weapons with nukes” and advocated for “irreversibly strengthening up the nuclear war deterrent”.

In addition, he emphasized the nation’s “quick response posture… to deal with any armed conflict and war,” according to KCNA.

The Hwasong-17 ICBM has a theoretical range of the contiguous United States, and with this most recent launch, North Korea is attempting to highlight the sophistication of its arsenal, according to observers.

“With the photos of the Earth, Pyongyang seems to be trying to show that it can accurately hit any target the regime wants with its ICBM,” Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, told our correspondent.

He predicted that North Korea will launch the missile “at a normal angle” as the next step, demonstrating that it can survive reentry into the atmosphere.

The launch on Thursday, Pyongyang’s third this week, occurred as Seoul and Tokyo worked to thaw their long-frozen ties in order to oppose an increasingly belligerent North Korea.

In the first such summit in 12 years, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol traveled to Japan on Thursday to meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

On Sunday, North Korea launched two cruise missiles from a submarine. On Thursday, it launched two short-range ballistic missiles while South Korea and the US conducted extensive military exercises.

In response to mounting military and nuclear threats from North Korea, which has recently carried out a number of increasingly provocative forbidden weapons tests, the allies have increased defense cooperation.

“The fact (that) North Korea has almost normalized ICBM tests over the last year is a concern,” Joseph Dempsey, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Soo Kim, a former CIA Korea analyst, said that Kim’s regime “has essentially desensitized the international community to its weapons tests,” she stated.

“We’ve reached a point where an ICBM test draws no greater attention than a short-range missile test,” she said.

“We’ll continue to see North Korea advancing and expanding its suite of weapons capabilities in the days to come.”


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