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(LEAD) N.K. leader says Pyongyang will further develop 'powerful strike means': state media

All News 07:35 March 28, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info; ADDS byline, photos)
By Yi Won-ju

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stressed that his country will further develop a "powerful strike means" to reinforce national defense capabilities, state media reported Monday, days after Pyongyang claimed to have launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Kim made the comments as he held a photo session with officials and scientists who contributed to the "successful" test-fire of the Hwasong-17 ICBM, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C), accompanied by Jang Chang-ha (L), chief of the North's Academy of National Defense, and Kim Jong-sik, the deputy director of the Munitions Industry Department, visits Pyongyang International Airport on March 24, 2022, to inspect the launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The missile traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers and flew a distance of 1,090 km before falling into the East Sea, the KCNA said. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

"We must be strong under whatever circumstances to defend peace, accelerate socialist construction and be responsible for the security of the rising generations, free from any threat," Kim was quoted as saying.

He added that Pyongyang will "continue to attain the goal of reinforcing national defense capabilities, develop more of powerful strike means to make our People's Army equip with them."

Kim also emphasized that a country can prevent a war and guarantee its security only when it is equipped with "formidable striking capabilities" and "overwhelming military power that cannot be stopped by anyone."

He then said that the development of the North's national defense would have been "unthinkable without the trust and ardent patriotism of all the people who rendered unconditional and absolute support and encouragement to the indispensable sacred cause of building up the nuclear war deterrence of the country."

Last week, the North claimed to have test-fired the Hwasong-17 ICBM under the supervision of leader Kim.

South Korea and the United States believe the North tested a Hwasong-15 ICBM, the same type it fired in late 2017, and disguised its launch as that of a Hwasong-17, informed sources said Sunday, after an analysis of the missile's engine nozzles and engine combustion time.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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