Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un KCNA/via REUTERS

North Korea confirmed on Friday (local time) it test fired its "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-17 in a launch on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s official news agency KCNA.

The country’s leader Kim Jong Un directly guided the test, the report said.

Kim said, according to KCNA, that the "new strategic weapon of the DPRK would make the whole world clearly aware of the power of our strategic armed forces once again."

"He stressed that our national defense forces would possess formidable military and technical capabilities unperturbed by any military threat and blackmail and keep themselves fully ready for long-standing confrontation with the US imperialists," the news agency added.

Japan’s vice defense minister Makoto Oniki said earlier the missile launched by North Korea landed just 170 kilometers west Japan's northern coast.

Oniki said the missile flew to an altitude of 6,000 kilometers, suggesting it was a "new type of ICBM."

Thursday's launch was the first long-range ballistic missile test North Korea has attempted since 2017.

North Korea has conducted several tests of reconnaissance satellite systems in recent weeks, most recently last week when it failed to launch an unidentified projectile.

A senior US official said recently that two recent missile tests conducted by North Korea were of a new ICBM system.

The official added that those tests marked a "serious escalation" by Pyongyang that will be punished with fresh sanctions.

Kim had claimed that the purpose of the reconnaissance satellite is to provide real-time information on military actions by the United States and its allies.

The latest tests add to tensions between the US and North Korea which have resumed since the Biden administration took office.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."

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