North Korea shows off 'monster' missile at huge military paradeOctober 10, 2020
North Korea has unveiled what appears to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile at a military parade marking the ruling party’s 75th anniversary.
The event saw leader Kim Jong Un take centre stage to warn that his country will ‘fully mobilise’ its nuclear force if threatened.
Analysts said the missile, which was shown on a transporter vehicle with 11 axles, would be one of the largest road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the world if it becomes operational.
‘This missile is a monster,’ said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network.
Also displayed were the Hwasong-15, which is the longest-range missile ever tested by North Korea, and what appeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
No foreign media or foreigners were allowed to attend the display on Saturday, so analysts are relying on edited state-media footage.
Jenny Town, a fellow at the Stimson Center think tank, said it was unclear if the missile shown was a conceptual or engineering mock-up or a workable prototype.
But she said it was highly unlikely it would show off such a huge missile if it did not plan on testing it.
Ahead of the parade officials in South Korea and the United States said Kim Jong Un could use the event to unveil a new ‘strategic weapon’ as promised earlier this year.
It is the first time North Korea has show off its ballistic missiles since its dictator began meeting with international leaders, including US President Donald Trump, in 2018.
Washington is said to be holding fast to four commitments made by Trump and Kim at their historic meeting in June of that year, including a pledge by Pyongyang to ‘work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula’.
Kim made no direct mention of the United States or the now-stalled talks.
‘We will continue to build our national defence power and self-defensive war deterrence,’ Kim said, but vowed that the country’s military power would not be used preemptively.
He went onto blame international sanctions, typhoons, and coronavirus for preventing him from delivering on promises of economic progress.
‘I am ashamed that I have never been able to repay you properly for your enormous trust,’ he said. ‘My efforts and devotion were not sufficient to bring our people out of difficult livelihoods.’
The video showed Kim make an appearance as a clock struck midnight. Dressed in a grey suit and tie, he waved to the crowd and accepted flowers from children while surrounded by military officials in Pyongyang’s recently renovated Kim Il Sung Square.
Kim spoke for nearly half an hour, shedding tears when thanking the troops and smiling and laughing as he watched the missiles.
The parade was highly choreographed, with thousands of troops marching in formation, displays of new conventional military equipment including tanks, and fighter jets launching flares and fireworks.
The new ICBM is likely intended to dispel doubts about North Korea’s ability to strike the continental United States, and an implicit threat that they are preparing to test the larger missile, according to former US intelligence officer for North Korea Markus Garlauskas.
He said: ‘If the Hwasong-15 could carry a ‘super-large’ nuclear warhead to anywhere in the US, then the natural question is what can this larger missile carry?’.
During the parade Kim also claimed that the country had no cases of coronavirus – an assertion that South Korea and the United States have previously questioned.
He said he hoped that North and South Korea would join hands again when the pandemic is over.
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