North Korea confirms launch of Hwasong-17 in test overseen by Kim Jong-un and his daughter

North Korea has confirmed that it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in a test overseen by the country’s leader Kim Jong Un and his young daughter.

State media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Mr Kim supervised the test-firing of the Hwasong-17 missile.

The missile, blasted off from a launch vehicle parked on an airport runway, reached a maximum altitude of 6,045km (3,756 miles) and traveled 1,000km (621 miles) before landing in waters off the country’s eastern coast.

State television also showed the launch from various angles as Mr Kim and his daughter and heir apparent Kim Ju Ae believed to be about 10 years old watched.

Mr Kim said that the test was meant to “strike fear into the enemies” over “open hostility” shown to the North by the US-South Korea joint military exercises.

According to assessments by South Korea and Japan’s militaries the US mainland is within the missile’s range.

However, it is not clear whether North Korea has developed nuclear bombs small enough to fit on its long-range rockets or the technology to ensure its warheads survive atmospheric reentry when fired at a normal trajectory, reported Associated Press.

The missile launch came as Yoon Suk Yeol visited Tokyo to meet prime minister Fumio Kishida, the first by a South Korean president in 12 years.

The meeting between the two leaders was meant to develop strategic ties and rebuild security cooperation between the often-estranged US allies in the face of North Korean nuclear threats.

“The ever-escalating threat of North Korea’s nuclear missile programme poses a huge threat to peace and stability not only in East Asia but also to the (broader) international community,” Mr Yoon said on Thursday after meeting the Japanese prime minister.

“South Korea and Japan need to work closely together and in solidarity to wisely counter the threat.”

The ICBM launch sends a “stronger warning” to North Korea’s rivals who are escalating tensions with their “frantic, provocative and aggressive large-scale war drills,” KCNA reported.

South Korea has lashed out at the North’s launch and said that it is using the drills with the US as an excuse.

“It’s clear that North Korea’s reckless nuclear and missile development is the cause of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said Lee Hyojung, spokesperson of South Korea’s unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

With these missile displays all within the course of a week, North Korea continued to show its military development after conducting record tests in 2022.

Thursday’s launch was North Korea’s second of an ICBM this year. The Hwasong-15 launched in February is a slightly smaller weapon than the Hwasong-17.

Additional reporting by agencies