North Korea nuclear crisis

Kim Jong-un visits North Korean factory that makes tyres … very special tyres

North Korean leader ordered the factory to make tyres for a ‘great event in November’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 December, 2017, 1:51pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 December, 2017, 4:10pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thanked workers during a visit to a factory that built the tyres for a huge vehicle used to transport a new intercontinental ballistic missile that was test-launched last week, the country’s media reported Sunday.

The launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM in violation of international sanctions was celebrated Friday with a massive public rally and fireworks in capital Pyongyang.

At the tyre factory, Kim complimented workers for manufacturing the large-size tyres for the 9-axle missile truck without relying on imported equipment and called for efforts to raise production to “satisfy the daily-increasing needs in developing the country’s economy and strengthening national defence capabilities,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday.

Kim in September tasked the Amnokgang Tyre Factory to make the tyres for the “great event in November,” the agency reported.

South Korea’s military believes that the latest missile, which flew 950 kilometre before splashing down in waters near Japan, is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 13,000 kilometre, which would put Washington within reach.

The US in response warned that Kim Jong-un’s regime would be “utterly destroyed” if its pursuit of a long-range nuclear missile arsenal provokes a military clash.

Washington is battling to maintain international solidarity in the face of the North nuclear threat after Russia warned that sanctions have failed and China sidestepped talk of an oil embargo.

On Saturday Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated his country’s condemnation of the missile test.

However, he added: “It is impossible for us not to condemn the provocations by our American colleagues. And, much to our regret, that they try to pull the Japanese and the South Koreans in the same direction. They will be the first victims if a war is started on the Korean peninsula.”

Tensions are expected to rise further in the coming week as South Korea and the United States launch a massive air force drill mobilising some 230 aircraft including six US F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters.

Commenting that the planned manoeuvre would be the “largest-ever” such drill, a spokesman for the North’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Saturday: “The Trump team is begging for nuclear war by staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula.”

“The facts above evidently show who is the real nuclear war maniac and the ‘nuclear demon’ that disrupts and destroys peace of the Korean peninsula and the world,” the statement added.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse