SEOUL, South Korea (AP/AFP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked workers during a visit to a factory that built the tires for a huge vehicle used to transport a new intercontinental ballistic missile that was test-launched this week, the country’s media reported yesterday.
The launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions was celebrated Friday with a massive public rally and fireworks in capital Pyongyang.
At the tire factory, Kim complimented workers for manufacturing the large-size tires for the nine-axle missile truck without relying on imported equipment and called for efforts to raise production to “satisfy the daily-increasing needs in developing the country’s economy and beefing up national defense capabilities,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday.
Kim in September tasked the Amnokgang Tire Factory to make the tires for the “great event in November,” the agency reported.
South Korea’s military believes that the latest missile, which flew 950 kilometers before splashing down in waters near Japan, is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 13,000 kilometers, which would put Washington within reach.
To celebrate the missile launched last Wednesday, the ruling Workers Party’s official daily Rodong Sinmun covered its front page with color photographs showing thousands of tightly packed soldiers and people applauding in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung square, which was decorated with large portraits of the North’s late leaders.
“We heartily celebrate the successful test launch of the Hwasong-15 which showed Chosun (North Korea)’s power and greatness to the whole world,” read one banner held up by the crowd, referring to the missile.