North Korea: Kim Jong Un Threatens to Fire More Missiles Over the Pacific to 'Contain Guam'

Kim Jong Un post missile launch
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a long and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 30, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters

North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un has no intention of halting ballistic missile tests in preparation for a possible confrontation in the Pacific, he said following the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Hwasong-12 over Japan on Tuesday.

Reports in the state-run North Korean press described how Kim carefully inspected the missile as sunrise broke over the launch site, the Sunan International Airport near Pyongyang. Pictures portrayed him reviewing a map purportedly showing the missile’s trajectory, sitting at a desk, cigarette in hand, a crystal ashtray on one side and binoculars on the other.

Kim praised the launch as an opportunity for the Korean People's Army (KPA) to gain “good experience in their rocket operation for an actual war” and noted that it was the first step for operations in the Pacific, in reference to the U.S. territory of Guam that hosts two military bases and lies 2,100 miles away from the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

“Noting that the current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam, advanced base of invasion, he said that it is necessary to positively push forward the work for putting the strategic force on a modern basis by conducting more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future,” the article on the state-run news agency KCNA stated.

According to the South Korean intelligence service, the launch was meant as a show of force to add credibility to Pyongyang’s threat to strike Guam.

Kim was shown earlier this month inspecting plans to strike the waters near the island with four Hwasong-12 rockets, flying them over southern Japan. The missile tested on Tuesday, headed over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido instead, flying for an estimated 1,680 miles (2,700 kilometers) and reaching an altitude of about 340 miles (550 km) before breaking up into three pieces and ending up in the Pacific.

The North Korean ruler had said he was in no rush to actually carry out the plans, an intention he repeated on Tuesday after condemning the ongoing 10-day long joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

“Noting that it is a lesson the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) drew this time again that it should show action, not talk, to the U.S. imprudently denying the DPRK's initiative measure for easing the extreme tension, he stressed that the DPRK will continue to watch the U.S. demeanors as was already declared and decide its future action according to them,” the KCNA report read.

The launch on Tuesday was the 14th time this year that North Korea tested a missile, and the third time—the first under Kim Jong Un’s leadership—that it flew a rocket over Japan.

GettyImages-824099340 Pedestrians walk past a huge screen in Tokyo depicting a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch, July 29. North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile over Japanese territory, prompting major concerns and emergency meetings in Tokyo. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch as an “unprecedented, grave and serious threat” to stability in the region. President Donald Trump reminded North Korea that “all options are on the table,” in a statement issued by the White House.

An emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday was a unanimous condemnation of the launch as “outrageous,” but stopped short of threatening any new sanctions.