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.