North Koreans on Sunday held mass rallies in Pyongyang asking Kim Jong-un for a ‘war of revenge’ to destroy the U.S., as the isolated nation marked 73 years of the Korean War.
North Korean state-owned media KCNA reported that about 120,000 working people and students participated in rallies across the capital.
Recently published photos by the state media showed a packed stadium where North Korea brandished placards bearing messages such as “The whole U.S. mainland is within our shooting range” and “The imperialist U.S. is the destroyer of peace.”
According to the NEWS report, The Department of Defense detected the ballistic missile launch and later confirmed it to be an ICBM by an initial assessment, U.S. officials said. It flew approximately 1,000 kilometers and landed in the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis.
It was determined not to be a threat, but South Korea said it was more robust than the first ICBM launched by North Korea earlier in the month.
A South Korea military official said the projectile had been fired around 11:41 p.m. local time (10:41 a.m. ET) on Friday and at its highest altitude, traveled at around 3,700 kilometers — “meaning that the firing range has made progress since the last launch” of an ICBM.
“South Korean military has strengthened surveillance and deterrence against North Korea’s additional provocations. We are totally prepared for all possible situations,” said the official.
Pyongyang now had “the strongest absolute weapon to punish the U.S. imperialists,” and the “avengers on this land are burning with the indomitable will to revenge the enemy,” KCNA wrote
This came after North Korea on Saturday warned that it would respond more aggressively to any stronger military measures by the U.S. in the Korean peninsula. Kim’s isolated nation criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for trying to involve China during his recent trip to Beijing and pressure Pyongyang to lay down its weapons.
There have been heightened concerns about North Korea potentially initiating another launch of its first military spy satellite after it failed recently. Launching a spy satellite aims to enhance surveillance of U.S. military operations.
In a Reuters report, Ri Pyong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, denounced ongoing joint military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea as openly showing “reckless ambition for aggression.”
“U.S. and South Korean forces have carried out various training exercises in recent months, including the biggest ever live fire exercises, after many drills were scaled back amid COVID-19 restrictions and diplomatic efforts with North Korea. Ri said the drills required Pyongyang to have the “means capable of gathering information about the military acts of the enemy in real time,” said Ri.
“We will comprehensively consider the present and future threats and put into more thorough going practice the activities for strengthening all-inclusive and practical war deterrents,” said Ri in the statement carried by the KCNA news agency.
The Asian nation is also testing various weapons, including its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile. The North Korean foreign ministry, in a distinct statement, also accused Washington of “making desperate efforts to ignite a nuclear war.”
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich