North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of "equilibrium" in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North's "highly provocative" ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday, the AP reports. The North's official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim's comments on Saturday—a day after US and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. It traveled 2,300 miles as it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country's longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile. The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29.
The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the "combat efficiency and reliability" of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power. While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said. Photos published by North Korea's state media showed the missile being launched from a truck-mounted launcher and a smiling Kim clapping and raising his fist while celebrating from an observation point. The UN Security Council, after a closed-door emergency meeting, accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests "have caused grave security concerns around the world" and threaten all 193 UN member states. (Read more North Korea stories.)