North Korea fires another ICBM to ´strike fear into the enemies´ as 10-year-old daughter looks on

Kim Jong-un/Shutterstock Images

North Korea said Friday March 17 it fired an intercontinental ballistic missile to “strike fear into the enemies” as South Korea and Japan agreed at a summit to work closely on regional security with the United States and staged military exercises around the region.

Kim Jong-un said he was launching the missile in response to the “open hostility” shown to the North by the U.S.–South Korea exercises.


Kim was accompanied by his daughter to the launch, believed to be named Kim Ju-ae and about 10 years old. She has accompanied him to several military events since she was publicly revealed for the first time during another ICBM launch in November.


Analysts say the intent of her public appearances at military events is to tie the Kim family’s dynastic rule to the nuclear arsenal Kim sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival.


 The missile, launched Thursday from North Korea’s main airport as leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter smiled from afar, overshadowed a summit held hours later between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida.


The meeting in Tokyo was partially aimed at rebuilding security ties between the often-estranged U.S. allies in the face of North Korean nuclear threats.


At the summit between Yoon and Kishida, the leaders agreed to resume defence dialogue and further strengthen security cooperation with the United States to counter North Korea and other challenges.


“The ever-escalating threat of North Korea’s nuclear missile program poses a huge threat to peace and stability not only in East Asia but also to the (broader) international community,” Yoon said. “South Korea and Japan need to work closely together and in solidarity to wisely counter the threat.”


With four missile displays in about a week, North Korea has ratcheted up its tit-for-tat response to ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills that are the biggest of their kind in years.


Lee Hyojung, spokesperson of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said it’s deeply regrettable that the North continues to use the U.S.–South Korean military drills as an excuse to stage provocative military demonstrations.


“It’s clear that North Korea’s reckless nuclear and missile development is the cause of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” she said, urging Pyongyang to return to dialogue.


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