US irate as N Korea vows to 'reach nuclear goals'

16 September 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to reach the country's nuclear goals, aiming to establish "equilibrium" of military force with the US, the country's state-run media said today.

''Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option,'' KCNA quoted leader Kim Jong-un as saying.

Kim's comments come after North Korea fired its latest missile over Japan - in what is being described as the country's farthest-reaching test, after which Washington indicated its patience was wearing thin and strongly suggested a military option was on the table.

"We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade," Kim was quoted as saying.

He also said North Korea's goal was "to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK [North Korea]".

Kim personally watched the launch of a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile on Friday.

The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km, travelling 3,700 km past the northernmost island of Hokkaido before landing in the sea, South Korea's military said.

The missile had the capacity to reach the US territory of Guam and experts say it is the furthest any North Korean ballistic missile has ever travelled above ground.

Kim was shown beaming as he watched the missile fly from a moving launcher in photos released by the agency, surrounded by several officials.

''The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,'' said Kim as quoted by KCNA. He added the North's goal of completing its nuclear force had ''nearly reached the terminal''.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim's leadership as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

After the latest missile launch on Friday, White House National Security Adviser H R McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience with North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

''We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road,'' McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyongyang's repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.

''For those ... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option,'' he said, adding that it would not be the Trump administration's preferred choice.

Also, on Friday, the UN Security Council condemned the ''highly provocative'' missile launch by North Korea.

It had already stepped up sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear bomb test on 3 September, imposing a ban on North Korea's textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, echoed McMaster's strong rhetoric, even as she said Washington's preferred resolution to the crisis is through diplomacy and sanctions.

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