Amid the prolonged suspension of U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks, it was reported on Friday that multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) have been newly manufactured in Sain-ri, Pyongsong in North Korea.
It has been reported that the U.S. authorities have detected the assembly and completion of ICBMs at an automobile plant in Sain-ri, along with a transporter erector launcher (TEL). Sain-ri is where North Korea launched ICBMs in 2017. “We are keeping an eye on future developments,” said a member of the U.S. government. “Multiple possibilities, such as ICBM test launches or a military parade to showcase the country’s power, are under review.”
The political landscape on the Korean Peninsula will become destabilized in the case of North Korea’s provocations with ICBMs that can reach the U.S. territory given the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. in November. U.S. President Donald Trump picks the suspension of ICBM launches and nuclear tests in North Korea as the biggest achievement since he made a switch in terms of the U.S. policies toward North Korea from “fire and fury,” which includes military options, to “negotiation-first.”
Experts are also worried about potential provocations by North Korea. “ICBMs in Sain-ri may be the upgraded version of the North’s existing ICBMs, such as Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15, but we cannot exclude the possibility that they may be the missiles of a completely new weapon system,” said Professor Kim Dong-yeop of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University. “Provocations may be likely before the beginning of summer training of North Korean military – before June at the latest.”