North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wore a leather jacket and sunglasses when directing a rocket launch that was likened to an “action movie”.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency ( KCNA ) confirmed on March 24 that the country had test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-17, officially ending the moratorium on testing long-range weapons imposed by Pyongyang. earlier in 2017. This new weapon was dubbed the “monster missile” and is the largest ICBM in North Korea’s arsenal today.
Video released by North Korean media of the missile launch shows leader Kim Jong-un accompanied by senior officers. Behind Kim is a launch vehicle and a Hwasong-17 missile.
In the slow-motion video, Kim Jong-un is seen wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses. Footage shows the North Korean leader and officers looking at their watches, then Kim Jong-un takes off his glasses and nods, gesturing to put the rocket into place.
The video also shows a close-up of North Korea’s giant rocket launch. The timer counts down before the commanding officer gives the order to launch the rocket.
Kim Jong-un directly watched the launch and clapped his hands when the launch was successful. North Korean officers also hugged each other to celebrate as the rocket left the launch pad.
Western media describe North Korea’s missile launch video as an action movie with dramatic visuals and vivid sound.
The style of the video shows Pyongyang’s growing confidence in its military capabilities, said Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute’s Center for Korean Studies .
“They were so confident in their military might that they felt comfortable editing and enjoying it,” Mr. Cheong said.
Hwasong-17 was first introduced by North Korea during a military parade in October 2020. KCNA revealed that the missile flew 1,090 km with a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 km and accurately hit a target at sea.
This is the largest ICBM launch since 2017 and represents an important step forward in the development of North Korea’s weapons program, especially with a weapon that can carry a nuclear warhead and has the range to reach its territory. US territory, according to Reuters.
Kim Jong-un stated that the Hwasong-17 is considered a key weapon to prevent a nuclear conflict. He said North Korea is prepared for a protracted confrontation with the United States and that its tactical forces are ready to “monitor and prevent” any US military effort.
Pyongyang has halted ICBM and nuclear tests since 2017 to pursue negotiations on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. However, as diplomatic efforts have stalled over the past few years, North Korea says its weapons are necessary for efforts to defend against hostile US policies.