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North Korea says it launched Hwasong-17 ICBM to counter ‘invasive’ US-ROK drills

North Korea says it launched Hwasong-17 ICBM to counter ‘invasive’ US-ROK drills

Baku, March 17, AZERTAC

North Korea launched a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Pyongyang International Airport on Thursday as a direct response to “provocative and invasive large-scale drills by the U.S. and south Korea” this week, according to state media, according to NK News.

The Rodong Sinmun reported Friday that leader Kim Jong Un watched the launch of the country’s largest nuclear missile with his daughter, and that it was meant to “send a warning” to Washington and Seoul to halt their exercises.

“The enemies [are] intentionally escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula while persistently resorting to irresponsible and reckless military threats in defiance of the DPRK’s severe warnings,” the report said.

It also insisted that the launch “had no negative impact on the security of neighboring countries.”

The launch took place as the U.S. and South Korea are conducting large-scale joint exercises on the peninsula called Freedom Shield from March 13-23.

U.S. Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder told reporters on Thursday that the drills successfully “deter” Pyongyang from attacking and that the DPRK’s reactions with missile launches are “destabilizing and concerning.”

State media coverage of the missile test did not mention the high-profile summit between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, which took place in Tokyo just hours later. The two are set to meet again Friday for a second day of talks.

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