NNorth Korea has unveiled a possible new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during an overnight military parade. As part of celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army, leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the deployment of long-range missiles (ICBMs) and tactical nuclear weapons units, state news agency KCNA reported. Kim described the parade as a demonstration of the country’s “significant” nuclear attack capability.
Satellite images from the US company Maxar Technologies showed military vehicles and crowds in Kim Il Sung Square in the capital Pyongyang. “Following the apparent Hwasong-17 ICBM pairs are four unidentified but apparently similarly sized canister systems,” Joseph Dempsey, a defense researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote on Twitter along with the footage. The Hwasong-17 is North Korea’s largest long-range missile to date. The new missile could be an ICBM, which was shown at a parade in 2017 but has not yet been tested, said Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace.
Contrary to United Nations (UN) sanctions, North Korea has pushed ahead with the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in recent years. Most of the country’s largest ballistic missiles run on liquid fuel, so they must be refueled at the launch site, a time-consuming process. Developing a solid-propellant ICBM has long been considered an important goal for North Korea, since such nuclear missiles would be harder to detect and destroy in a conflict. It remained unclear whether the development of the putative new missile has already reached the testing phase. North Korea has occasionally displayed dummies at the parades.