Sun, 26 Mar 2023

SEOUL, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The strategic forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile launch drill as a gesture of warning against the ongoing U.S.-South Korea war drills, said a state media report Friday.

A Hwasongpho-17 was launched on Thursday from the Pyongyang International Airport, climbing up to a maximum altitude of 6,045 km and flying a distance of some 1,000 km before accurately landing on a preset area in the open waters off the eastern coast, the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un, who presided over the launching event, applauded the reliability of the operating systems of the country's nuclear strategic forces, said the KCNA report.

Meanwhile, Kim took the occasion to reiterate the DPRK's "resolute will to respond with a nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation," and asked the strategic forces to strictly maintain a rapid response capability in the event of any armed conflict and war, the report added.

In tandem with the latest missile launch, the country's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a commentary on Friday, underscoring that the Hwasongpho-17, which was launched a day earlier, should serve as clear evidence that "the DPRK nuclear forces are not for advertisement."

Citing the DPRK law on the policy of nuclear-armed forces, the article said the country would make a resolute response to anyone trying to encroach upon its sovereignty and security.

"The United States should stop at once the reckless military provocations and war drills against the DPRK," the commentary said.

South Korea and the United States on Monday kicked off the Freedom Shield exercises, an annual large-scale joint military drill, which would last until March 23.

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