North Korea, which is armed with nuclear weapons, displayed more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) than ever before and hinted at the development of a new solid-fuel weapon at a midnight parade, state media said on Thursday, February 9.
The nation has continued with its ballistic missile program, launching dozens of sophisticated missiles in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions during the last year.
Professor Leif-Eric Easley of Ewha University in Seoul stated, “This time, Kim Jong Un allowed North Korea’s growing tactical and long-range missile forces to speak for themselves.” Pyongyang would likely demonstrate its deterrence and coercion capabilities via solid-fuel rocket tests and the explosion of a miniaturized nuclear bomb in order to convey the message it wishes to deliver to the international community.
As many as 11 Hwasong-17s, North Korea’s biggest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which are believed to be capable of striking virtually anywhere in the world with a nuclear payload, were shown in images posted by state media source KCNA during the Wednesday evening demonstration.
Ankit Panda of the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated on Twitter that eleven missiles might be sufficient to overpower current U.S. missile defenses.
“This is the most number of ICBM launches we’ve ever seen at a North Korean parade,” he tweeted.
The Hwasong-17 was initially tested a year ago. Alongside them at the parade was a model or prototype of a new solid-fuel ICBM with canister launchers, according to some experts.
The development of a solid-fuel ICBM has long been viewed as a top priority for the nation, as it would make its nuclear missiles more difficult to detect and destroy during a battle.
KCNA said that North Korea staged the parade in Pyongyang to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the formation of its army. Kim Jong Un was accompanied by his daughter, who is viewed as a potential future leader of the hereditary regime.
The foreign ministry of South Korea lambasted North Korea for organizing the event despite its deteriorating food crises and economic problems.
Lim Soo-suk, a spokeswoman for South Korea’s foreign ministry, stated during a routine briefing, “We encourage North Korea to immediately cease its unlawful nuclear and missile development as well as its irresponsible nuclear threats and rapidly resume disarmament talks.”
North Korea has stated that its missile program and nuclear weapons development are required due to the hostile actions of the United States and its allies, and fall under its sovereign right to self-defense.
North Korea conducted the first static ground test of a large solid-propellant rocket motor at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station in December, but it was unclear at the time whether it was solely for the country’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program, according to James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies researcher Dave Schmerler (CNS).
He claimed that since North Korea has not launched its new missile submarine, the parade weapon shows that Pyongyang is building a complicated, land-based ICBM deterrent.
Schmerler stated, “The basic conclusion is that we should anticipate North Korea to test a massive land-based solid-fuel ICBM.”
The majority of the nation’s biggest ballistic missiles use liquid fuel, requiring them to be filled with propellant at their launch location — a lengthy procedure.
It is unknown how close the new missile might be to being tested. North Korea has occasionally exhibited replicas during parades.