Pyongyang: North Korea on Thursday published photographs of its new model of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that was launched a day earlier under the supervision of its leader Kim Jong-un.
A large gallery of 42 photos published by the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, unveiled the ICBM Hwasong-15 that has a rounded tip sitting on a transporter erector launcher (TEL) that has nine wheels on each side. Kim has described the vehicle as "impeccable," according to the North Korean newspaper.
On Wednesday North Korea announced that its latest missile was capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead and reaching the entire US mainland. It also said that with this latest test it has managed to complete its "nuclear force". The images released on Thursday showed the preparation for the launch and the missile during its ascent, in addition to a smiling face of Kim, who observed the preparations and the flight of the missile both outdoors and from a control room.
Very "excited" and "satisfied" with the successful development of the new Hwasong-15 ("Mars-15" in English), the North Korean leader "warmly congratulated" the scientists, technicians and other workers involved in the process, Rodong Sinmun detailed.
After two and a half months without any weapons test, Pyongyang on Wednesday returned to launch the missile, the 20th so far in 2017, amid escalating tensions with Washington. Fired on Wednesday at 2.48 a.m., the missile reached a height of 4,475 km before falling into the Sea of Japan some 950 km from where it was launched, according to data released by Pyongyang and corroborated by Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
Given that the missile was fired at a steep angle, some experts believe that it could have travelled over 13,000 km in a normal flight, sufficient to reach any part of the continental US.
North Korea has also claimed that the missile held a warhead capable of re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The claim was not proven and experts have cast doubt on the country's ability to master such technology. The international community has been condemned the test.