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N.K. envoy to Russia says Pyongyang can launch ICBM at any time, place: report

All News 09:59 January 13, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ambassador to Russia reiterated that Pyongyang can test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at any time and place when ordered to do so by its leadership, a U.S.-based media said Friday.

Ambassador Kim Hyong-jun told Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that what's important is that a new U.S. administration should end Washington's hostile policy toward Pyongyang, the Voice of America (VOA) report said.

His comment is the repetition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's message and a statement made by the country's foreign ministry over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile aspirations.

The North's leader said on Jan. 1 that North Korea has entered the final stage of its preparations to launch an ICBM, hinting that it will seek to test-fire the missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

The VOA said that the North's top envoy claimed that the North has the capacity to annihilate strategic assets, including an advanced U.S. missile defense system that will be deployed in South Korea later this year.

Kim was quoted as saying that if Pyongyang's sovereignty is infringed on in any way, North Korea can make a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S.

North Korea has long insisted that its development of nuclear weapons is a deterrent against what it calls Washington's hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

It conducted two nuclear tests and launched more than 20 ballistic missiles last year in defiance of international condemnation.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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