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N. Korea slams US test launch of Minuteman III ICBM

Nov. 3, 2023 - 09:56 By Yonhap
Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Heo Tae-keun (left) and Vipin Narang, U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, observe the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Wednesday. (Defense Ministry)

North Korea lambasted the United States on Friday for its recent test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as it vowed to respond to "reckless" provocations with "prompt, overwhelming and decisive counteraction."

The US test-launched an unarmed ICBM at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, with a defense delegation led by Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Heo Tae-keun in attendance. It marked the first such observation by a South Korean delegation in seven years since 2016.

The US later safely terminated the Minuteman III over the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 1, due to an anomaly during a test launch.

"The DPRK will as ever continue its military action to bolster up the deterrence and ensure the strategic security in the Korean peninsula and the region," a military commentator said in the English-language article carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, using the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Claiming that the "nuclear threat" by Washington is nearing a "new red line," the commentator said bolstering Pyongyang's "self-defensive nuclear armed forces" is an exercise of its self-defense rights to protect its security.

The KCNA article also warned against using nuclear arms against such threats.

"The DPRK's military counteraction stand to respond to the nukes in kind is immutable, irrespective of whether the US targets the DPRK with strategic nuclear weapons or deploys tactical nukes," it said.

The North has been seeking to bolster its nuclear arsenal. In September, the recalcitrant regime amended its constitution to enshrine a nuclear force-building policy, a year after it enacted a new nuclear law authorizing the preemptive use of nuclear arms, calling its status as a nuclear state "irreversible." (Yonhap)