North Korea has unveiled a new ballistic missile whose “colossal” size has surprised even seasoned analysts of the country’s arsenal. Defence expert Melissa Hanham explains what the missile is and why it is a threat to the US and the world.
To mark the 75th anniversary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, the country threw an unparalleled military parade at the stroke of midnight.
The heavily choreographed event featured all the pomp and circumstance the world has come to expect from North Korea’s mass human performances. It also contained a surprisingly emotional speech from Chairman Kim Jong-un, who at times wept as he spoke about the country’s struggles.
Last, but certainly not least, it revealed North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date.
Here are three things we know about the missile.
Kim’s promised ‘strategic weapon’
On 1 January 2020, Mr Kim gave his annual New Year’s address wherein he announced that North Korea was “developing the state-of-the-art weapons system possessed only by advanced countries”.
He specifically referred to a “strategic” – meaning nuclear – weapons system under development.
Mr Kim pointedly tied the weapon to the US, stating “in the future, the more the US stalls for time and hesitates in the settlement of DPRK-US relations, the more helpless it will find itself before the might of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is growing stronger beyond prediction, and the deeper it will fall into an impasse”.
This new ICBM is Mr Kim’s promised strategic weapon. It absolutely targets the US, and is delivered as a fait accompli in the face of failed negotiations with the Trump administration.
A new threat to US missile defence systems
North Korea already has two tested ICBMs.