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North Korea says it test-fired its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile

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By AP & Euronews
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This photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what it says a test-fire of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
This photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what it says a test-fire of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).   -   Copyright  Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korea admitted it test-fired its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

It came a day after the militaries of South Korea and Japan said they detected Pyongyang launching an ICBM in its first long-range test since 2017.

Kim Jong Un, the country's leader, vowed to expand North Korea's “nuclear war deterrent” while preparing for a “long-standing confrontation” with the United States.

The Hwasong-17, which was fired at a high angle to avoid the territorial waters of neighbours, reached a maximum altitude of 6,248 kilometres and travelled 1,090 kilometres during a 67-minute flight before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

The missile is North Korea's longest-range weapon and, by some estimates, the world’s biggest road-mobile ballistic missile system. Thursday's launch was its first full-range test.

KCNA paraphrased Kim as saying that his new weapon would make the “whole world clearly aware” of the North’s bolstered nuclear forces.

He vowed for his military to acquire “formidable military and technical capabilities unperturbed by any military threat and blackmail and keep themselves fully ready for a long-standing confrontation with the US imperialists.”

The US requested a Security Council meeting on the launch and imposed fresh sanctions against five entities and individuals in Russia and North Korea over transferring sensitive items to the North's missile programme.

Thursday’s test was North Korea’s 12th round of launches this year and the most provocative since President Joe Biden took office.