Analysts said the announcement, reported by state media on Wednesday, amounted to Kim Jong Un putting a missile “to Donald Trump’s head” — but warned that escalation by Pyongyang would probably backfire.
Washington was swift to respond, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging Kim Jong Un to “take a different course” and stressing that the US wanted “peace not confrontation” with the North, while Trump played down the development.
Pyongyang has previously fired missiles capable of reaching the entire US mainland, and has carried out six nuclear tests, the last of them 16 times the size of the Hiroshima blast, according to the highest estimates.
A self-imposed ban on such tests — Kim Jong Un declared they were no longer needed — has been a centrepiece of the nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington over the past two years, which has seen three meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump, but little tangible progress.
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