North Korea presents new ICBM at military parade

On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Labor Party, North Korea demonstrated strength with an unusual nightly military parade. State television showed pictures of the anniversary celebrations on Saturday evening (local time) with thousands of soldiers marching in goose-step, vehicles loaded with rockets, cheering crowds and fireworks in the center of the capital Pyongyang. He wished all people in the world who were fighting the corona virus good health, said the partly emotional ruler Kim Jong Un in a speech under the night sky before the start of the army show. “I also send warm greetings to the South Koreans with the same wish.”

The military in South Korea assumed that the celebrations would take place on Saturday night. They were recorded. Because of its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is subject to harsh international sanctions and is largely diplomatically isolated.

Develop self-defense and deterrence

Kim announced that North Korea would expand its armed forces for self-defense and deterrence. This is the only way to control “all dangerous attempts and actions, including growing nuclear threats by the hostile forces”. However, Kim did not address the United States, which Pyongyang regularly accuses of hostile policies.

Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, gave his speech on a podium in Kim Il Sung Square, which was brightly lit. It was midnight when he took the stage. The speech was repeatedly interrupted by cheers from the masses and applause. Some soldiers and civilians wept. Nobody wore a mask to protect against the coronavirus. North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection.

Novel ICBM demonstrated

At the subsequent military parade, the self-declared nuclear power presented ballistic missiles of various ranges. The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a new ICBM was also demonstrated. Experts therefore suspected that the missile could fly further than the North Korean missile of the type Hwasong-15, which has a range of more than 12,800 kilometers. However, it appears that the new missile cannot carry multiple warheads.

At a party meeting in late 2019, Kim Jong Un threatened that the world would see a “new strategic weapon” in his country in the near future. He also stated at the time that Pyongyang was no longer bound by its moratorium on tests for atomic bombs and ICBMs. The background to this is the faltering nuclear negotiations between the communist leadership and the USA. Since the failed summit between the two countries in Vietnam in February 2019, the talks have not made any progress.

Pyongyang military strength

Pyongyang often uses important holidays or memorial days to show military strength. The time of day for the arms show was considered unusual this time. First, the General Staff in South Korea announced that there were signs that a large military parade had taken place in Pyongyang in the early hours of the morning. According to observers, the leadership apparently hoped the nightly mass spectacle would have a greater impact. “The decision to hold this at the beginning of the night makes sense, with Kim Jong Uns keen, emotional emphasis on overcoming the odds,” North Korea expert Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter. This should suggest: “The light of the Labor Party will penetrate the darkness.”

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