Pyongyang: After firing an intercontinental ballistic missile higher than ever before, North Korea this week said it had mastered nuclear-strike capability and become a full-fledged nuclear state.
That claim was immediately met with skepticism, not least in the White House. It poses a new challenge for President Donald Trump who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the US mainland. After watching the launch, Kim Jong-un boasted about its success, according to state television presenter Ri Chun-Hee.
‘Kim Jong-un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power,’ the presenter said.
‘The great success in the test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15 is a priceless victory won by the great and heroic people of the DPRK,’ she added, using the abbreviated name for North Korea.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned on Tuesday that North Korea now has the ability to hit ‘everywhere in the world’ and that the latest missile test went ‘higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken.’
On Wednesday, President Trump vowed to impose “additional major sanctions” on the North, though he got ahead of his bureaucracy by saying on Twitter that they would be announced that day. White House officials said the Treasury Department was still drafting the measures.