North Korea has held events celebrating the country’s latest successful long-range missile test, with display of fireworks in public squares across the capital Pyongyang.
State media outlets on Saturday published photographs showing thousands of people and soldiers celebrating in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung Square, which was decorated with large portraits of the country’s late leaders.
“We heartily celebrate the successful test launch of the Hwasong-15, which showed Chosun (North Korea)’s power and greatness to the entire world,” read one of the banners carried by the crowd in reference to the missile.
“Long Live the General Kim Jong-un, who has brought us the great historic cause of nuclear statehood,” read another banner held by participants.
Vice Chairman Pak Kwang-ho of the ruling Workers Party decision-making Central Committee addressed the celebrating crowd, saying that following the Wednesday test-launch “no one can now infringe our sovereignty and rights to survive and develop.”
Pak said the US had been “jolted” at the strengthening of North Korea’s nuclear force and could attempt to commit “robber-like” provocative acts.
After the launch of the new intercontinental ballistic missile, Kim declared that his country had now achieved full nuclear statehood.
Pyongyang said that the ICBM Hwasong-15-type missile was an intercontinental ballistic rocket that could be tipped with super-large heavy warhead capable of striking the entire US mainland.
Washington reacted to the latest missile launch by warning that Pyongyang’s leadership would be “utterly destroyed” if its pursuit of a long-range nuclear missile arsenal sparked a military clash.
Tensions are expected to further climb in the week ahead as the military forces of the US and South Korea plan to launch a massive air force drill mobilizing some 230 aircraft, including six US F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters.
Meanwhile, the US state of Hawaii tested a nuclear attack warning siren for the first time since the conclusion of the Cold War. The resumption of the monthly tests took place amid what Washington bills as a rising threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear program.
A missile launched from North Korea could strike Hawaii — home to US military headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region — within 20 minutes of launch, according to local press reports.
The pacific island of Hawaii already has a monthly test of sirens warning of natural disasters, including tsunamis. However, the nuclear attack signal uses a different, wavering tone, warning residents and tourists to stay indoors and await further instructions.