The ballistic missile launch by North Korea on Thursday, which drew worldwide condemnation, involved a new type of missile, the regime indicated.
According to CBS News, which cited state-run news agency KCNA, the two missiles that were launched were “newly developed, new-type tactical guided projectiles,” which successfully hit their targets off the East coast of the country.
The KCA report added that Kim Jong-un did not personally observe the launch.
Per ABC News, the regime also said that the missiles sported a 2.5-ton warhead and traveled 600 kilometers (372 miles).
Ri Pyong Chol, North Korea’s chief of weapons development, called the launch “of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country and deterring all sorts of military threats existing on the Korean Peninsula,” per ABC News.
Asked about the launch Thursday at his White House news conference, President Joseph Biden condemned the action by North Korea, but still held out hope that a diplomatic process could be revived.
“Let me say that number one, the UN resolution 1718 was violated by those particular missiles that were tested,” Biden said after he was asked about the launch. “We’re consulting with our allies and partners, and there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly.”
“But I’m also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization,” the president said. “So that’s what we’re doing right now, consulting with our allies.”
Biden also answered affirmatively to a question about whether he agreed with a statement in 2017 by former President Barack Obama that North Korea was America’s top foreign policy issue. The Biden administration is known to be currently conducting a review of its North Korea policy.
Also following the launch, U.S. allies, including Japan and South Korea, condemned North Korea’s launch.
The launch, which followed a cruise missile launch by the North Koreans four days earlier, following a visit to the region by a pair of U.S. cabinet secretaries, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first foreign visit by cabinet secretaries in the Biden era.
During the trip, Blinken and Austin discussed the North Korean nuclear threat with their counterparts in Japan and South Korea, while also carrying out joint military exercises with the South Koreans. At the same time, intelligence sources indicated that a missile launch by North Korea was in the works.
The Kim regime has traditionally launched missiles or engaged in other types of provocations shortly after a new president takes over in either the United States or South Korea.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.