North Korea has successfully tested its latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-18, marking its longest flight time to date. The state media reported that the missile launch serves as a warning to the United States and other adversaries, emphasizing its significance as the core of North Korea’s nuclear strike force.

The launch, which took place on Wednesday and was confirmed by South Korea and Japan’s militaries, received condemnation from the United States and leaders in Seoul and Tokyo. The United Nations Security Council, responsible for resolutions prohibiting North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development, will convene a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the recent missile launch.

The Hwasong-18, which utilizes solid propellants, was first tested in April, distinguishing it as North Korea’s inaugural ICBM to employ such technology. Solid propellants offer advantages in terms of quicker missile deployment during times of conflict.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test and asserted that the country would adopt even stronger measures to safeguard itself until the United States and its allies abandon their hostile policies. Despite North Korea’s limited experience with large, multi-stage solid-propellant missiles, both of the Hwasong-18 tests have been remarkably successful, raising questions about the country’s impressive achievements in this field.

During this test, the 74-minute flight time of the Hwasong-18 is the longest recorded for a North Korean missile. According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the second and third stages of the missile followed a lofted trajectory, reaching high altitudes for safety purposes. KCNA assured that the test did not negatively affect the security of neighboring countries.

Japan confirmed that the missile landed in the sea east of the Korean peninsula, approximately 250 kilometers west of its northern island of Okushiri. In response to the ICBM launch, Japan’s defense ministry reported that four of its F-2 jets and two U.S. Air Force F-15C jets conducted joint air drills west of Kyushu island as part of their efforts to counter the intensifying national security environment, including North Korea’s recent activities.

Images released by KCNA showcased the Hwasong-18 being launched from a road-mobile transporter erector launcher (TEL), a multi-wheeled vehicle designed for firing missiles from unpredictable locations. However, Colin Zwirko, a senior analytic correspondent for NK PRO, pointed out that the launch site for this test was the same as the first Hwasong-18 test outside Pyongyang. Commercial satellite imagery revealed that the site had been purposefully constructed and likely reinforced with concrete beneath the grass.

As the missile ascended from the camouflaged launcher, dramatic music played in the background in footage aired by the state broadcaster, capturing the significance of the moment.