The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, earlier called for global action to counter an “escalation of the threat” posed by the regime. He warned that any country that hosted North Korean workers, or provided economic or military aid to Pyongyang, or failed to implement United Nations sanctions was “aiding and abetting a dangerous regime”.
He said in a statement: “Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world. All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Kim Jong-un delivered his own message on Wednesday, with the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoting him as saying: “American bastards would be not very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary.”
The news agency claimed the North Korean missile was capable of carrying a “large, heavy nuclear warhead” that could survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Kim was quoted as saying the North’s long confrontation with Washington had entered the “final stage” and that Pyongyang would not put its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles up for negotiation “unless the US hostile policy and nuclear threats come to an end completely”.