N. Korea holds mass celebrations over latest missile test

A photo from the Korean Central News Agency showing North Koreans celebrating the country's latest successful long-range missile test, last Wednesday, with fireworks and dancing in public squares.
A photo from the Korean Central News Agency showing North Koreans celebrating the country's latest successful long-range missile test, last Wednesday, with fireworks and dancing in public squares.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • North Korea held mass celebrations for its latest successful long-range missile test, Pyongyang's state media said yesterday, with a propaganda-filled display of fireworks and dancing.

The ruling Workers' Party official daily Rodong Sinmun covered its front page with colour photos showing thousands of soldiers and people applauding in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square, which was decorated with large portraits of the North's late leaders.

"We heartily celebrate the successful test launch of the Hwasong-15 which showed (North Korea's) power and greatness to the whole world", read one banner referring to the missile.

North Korea last Wednesday successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile, with leader Kim Jong Un declaring his country had gained full nuclear statehood.

The United States in response warned that Mr Kim's regime would be "utterly destroyed" if its pursuit of a long-range nuclear missile arsenal provokes a military clash, and has battled to maintain international solidarity in the face of North Korea's nuclear threat.

Mr Kim himself was absent from the celebrations - he usually stays away from such events - but Friday's gathering drew key military, party and government leaders.

Vice-chairman Pak Kwang Ho of the Workers' Party's decision-making central committee told the crowd that, after Wednesday's test launch, "now no one can infringe our sovereignty and rights to survive and develop", the daily said.

He said the US had been "jolted" at the strengthening of North Korea's nuclear force and could attempt to commit "robber-like" provocative acts.

The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system used in Wednesday's test is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead capable of striking the whole mainland of the US, the North said.

But analysts remain unconvinced that the North has mastered the technology required to launch and direct a missile, and ensure it survives the difficult re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Tensions are expected to rise further this week as South Korea and the US launch a massive air force drill mobilising some 230 aircraft.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 03, 2017, with the headline 'N. Korea holds mass celebrations over latest missile test'. Print Edition | Subscribe