North Korean leader Kim Jong Un clapped in delight as the country successfully launched its newest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) – the solid-fuel Hwasong-18 – state media images showed.
Dressed in a white suit and flanked by his wife and key aides, Kim personally oversaw the second test of the ICBM on Wednesday, state media said.
The missile, which North Korea tested previously in April, flew 1,001 kilometres at a maximum altitude of 6,648km before falling into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.
The launch was a “grand explosion” that shook “the whole planet”, KCNA said.
Citing what he said was an “unstable situation” on the Korean peninsula, Kim also called for “more intense efforts” to boost North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
The confirmation of the launch, reported by South Korea and Japan on Wednesday, comes amid a deterioration in relations between the two Koreas.
Kim has called for ramping up weapons development, while Seoul has stepped up security cooperation with the United States.
Seoul described Wednesday’s launch as “a grave provocation that damages the peace and security of the Korean peninsula”.
The United Nations, the US and other countries also condemned the test, which took place as NATO leaders were meeting in Europe.