Largest-ever number of nuclear missiles showed off by North Korea at a night-time parade

On Thursday state media reported, North Korea which is nuclear-armed showcased its missile production muscle during a night-time parade and displayed more intercontinental ballistic missiles than ever before and hinted at a new solid-fuel weapon.

KCNA, a state news agency said, North Korea held the night-time military parade that was widely anticipated in Pyongyang on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of its army.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was seen with his daughter, who would possibly be the next leader of the hereditary dictatorship.

The ICBMs showcased North Korea’s “greatest” nuclear strike capability and the parade also featured tactical nuclear units, said KCNA.

State media’s imagery showed as many as 11 Hwasong-17s, the largest ICBMs owned by North Korea, which are suspected to have the range to strike nearly anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead.

“This is cumulatively more ICBM launchers than we’ve ever seen before at a North Korean parade,” Ankit Panda of the United States–based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said on Twitter.

The existing U.S. missile defense systems could be saturated if such ICBMs are equipped with enough multiple warheads, he added.

The Hwasong- 17 was tested last year for the first time.

Despite United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions, the country has forged ahead with its ballistic missile programme and has been launching larger and more advanced missiles.

“This time, Kim Jong Un let North Korea’s expanding tactical and long-range missile forces speak for themselves,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. “The message Pyongyang wants to send internationally, demonstrating its capabilities to deter and coerce, will likely come in the form of solid-fuel missile tests and detonation of a miniaturized nuclear device.”

The Hwasong-17s were followed by what some analysts believed to be a prototype or mock-up of a new solid-fuel ICBM in canister launchers.

Panda said the cannisterised ICBMs appeared different than those shown in a parade in 2017.

Most of the country’s largest ballistic missiles require liquid fuel, which requires them to be packed with propellant at their launch site which is time-consuming.

The development of a solid-fuel ICBM is a key goal for the country, as it could make spotting and destroying its nuclear missiles harder during a conflict.

It is still unclear how close the new missiles could be to testing as North Korea has sometimes displayed mock-ups at the parade.

source: reuters

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