Reactions to North Korea’s claims of first successful ICBM launch

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed on July 5 his nation will “demonstrate its mettle to the U.S.” and never put its weapons programs up for negotiations, a day after test-launching its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The hard line suggests more tests are being prepared as the country tries to perfect nuclear-armed missiles capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

Tuesday’s ICBM launch, confirmed by U.S. and South Korean officials, is a milestone in North Korea’s efforts to develop long-range missiles with nuclear warheads. It isn’t there yet — some analysts suggest it will take several more years and many more tests to perfect such an arsenal — but a successful launch of an ICBM has long been seen as a red line after which it would only be a matter of time if North Korea isn’t stopped.

Worry spread in Washington and at the United Nations, where the United States, Japan and South Korea requested an emergency U.N. Security Council session on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the missile was an ICBM and said the U.S. response would include “stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable,” using the acronym for the nation’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The missile test, North Korea’s most successful yet, was a direct rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump’s earlier declaration on Twitter that such a test “won’t happen!”

The launch came days after the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and ahead of a summit of the world’s richest economies.

On Wednesday, U.S. and South Korean troops, in response to the ICBM launch, engineered a show of force for North Korea, with soldiers from the allies firing “deep strike” precision missiles into South Korean territorial waters. Moon ordered the drills with the United States to show “North Korea our firm combined missile response posture,” his office said.

North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science, in a bit of hyperbole, said the test of the Hwasong-14 missile marked the “final step” in creating a “confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.” (AP)

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Annual South Korean military exercises

South Korean army soldiers ride a K-1 tank during the annual exercise in Paju, South Korea near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, July 5, 2017. (Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP)

U.S. and South Korean joint missile drill

South Korea’s Hyunmu-2 Missile System (L) and U.S. M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (R) firing missiles during a U.S. and South Korea joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 5, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea. The U.S. Army and South Korean military responded to North Korea’s missile launch with a combined ballistic missile exercise on Wednesday, into South Korean waters along the country’s eastern coastline. (Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)

Stock indicator in Tokyo

A man uses a mobile phone in front of an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Asian shares were muted Wednesday as the geopolitical fallout from North Korea’s long-range missile launch weighed on investor sentiment amid trading thinned by the U.S. Independence Day holiday. (Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

ICBM test launch

The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test launch in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July, 4 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

Kim Jong Un reacts

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with scientists and technicians of the DPRK Academy of Defence Science after the test launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July, 5, 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

North Koreans watch the ICBM test launch

People watch a huge screen showing the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), July 5, 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

Kim Jong Un looks on during the ICBM test-fire

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July, 4 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

ICBM Hwasong-14 is seen

The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July, 4 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

North Koreans react to the ICBM test-launch

People react as they watch the news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed the order to carry out the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic rocket near the Pyongyang railway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Jon Chol Jin/AP)

A North Korean soldier guards the border with China

A North Korean soldier guards the border near the Chinese border town of Dandong, northeastern Liaoning province of China Wednesday, July 5, 2017. (Photo: Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo News via AP)

A public TV screen in South Korea

A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea’s the Hwasong-14 missile, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which they said was successfully tested, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Kim Jong Un inspects the ICBM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017. (Photo: KCNA/via Reuters)

TV screens in South Korea

TV screens at a Yongsan Electronic shop show a North Korean newscaster reading a public announcement at in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Lim Tae-hoon/Newsis via AP)

South Koreans react

People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which they said is successfully tested, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in presides over the National Security Council at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Kim Joo-hyung/Yonhap via Reuters)

Public TV screen in Tokyo

People pass a public TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea’s ballistic missile which landed in the waters of Japan’s economic zone (EEZ) in Tokyo Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP)