North Korea said Monday that it is ready to mass produce a new medium-range missile that has the capability of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases after its latest launch it claimed confirmed the rocket’s combat readiness.
North Korea launched the solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile Sunday. It reached a height of 350 miles before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. The isolated country said it is an “answer” to President Trump’s policies.
North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un ordered and watched the launch, according to state media. The report said the test verified technical aspects of the weapon system and examined its "adaptability under various battle conditions" before it is deployed to military units.
Kim reportedly said the launch was a success, "approved the deployment of this weapon system for action" and said that it should "be rapidly mass-produced."
North Korea has vowed more missile tests in the face of international sanctions and satellite imagery has shown that it may be preparing for a sixth nuclear missile test. North Korea a week earlier had successfully tested a new midrange missile — the Hwasong 12 — that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead.
In an interview with "Fox News Sunday" Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the ongoing testing is "disappointing" and "disturbing."
South Korea held a National Security Council meeting after the launch, and its Foreign Ministry said the launch "throws cold water" on efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.
China, one of North Korea’s only allies, urged all sides to exercise restraint, Reuters reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.