(Adds details, quotes, background)
By Jack Kim and Tony Munroe
SEOUL Jan 8 North Korea said on Sunday it can
test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at any time
from any location set by leader Kim Jong Un, saying the United
States' hostile policy was to blame for its arms development.
Kim said on Jan. 1 that his nuclear-capable country was
close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile
"The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere determined
by the supreme headquarters of the DPRK," an unnamed Foreign
Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA
news agency, using the acronym for the country's name.
The North is formally known as the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.
The United States said on Thursday that North Korea had
demonstrated a "qualitative" improvement in its nuclear and
missile capabilities after an unprecedented level of tests last
Experts have said that while North Korea may be close to
testing an ICBM, it would likely take years to perfect the
Once fully developed, a North Korean ICBM could threaten the
continental United States, which is around 9,000 km (5,500
miles) from the North. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500
km (3,400 miles), but some are designed to travel 10,000 km
(6,200 miles) or further.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump responded on Monday to
Kim's comments on an ICBM test by declaring in a tweet that "It
A U.S. State Department spokesman said last week that the
United States does not believe that North Korea is capable of
mounting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over
its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The sanctions were
tightened last month after Pyongyang conducted its fifth and
largest nuclear test on Sept. 9.
"The U.S. is wholly to blame for pushing the DPRK to have
developed ICBM as it has desperately resorted to anachronistic
policy hostile toward the DPRK for decades to encroach upon its
sovereignty and vital rights," KCNA quoted the spokesman as
"Anyone who wants to deal with the DPRK would be well
advised to secure a new way of thinking after having clear
understanding of it," the spokesman said, according to KCNA.
(Reporting by Jack Kim, Tony Munroe and Ju-min Park; Editing by
Angus MacSwan and Jane Merriman)