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Pyongyang develops monstrous ICBM

Posted October. 12, 2020 07:48,   

Updated October. 12, 2020 07:48


North Korea on Saturday revealed the world’s largest mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system, which seems to be capable of flying even to the eastern coast of the United States such as Washington, D.C. and New York. The new ICBM system can carry up to three warheads, each of which weighs 600 kilograms. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put explicit pressure on the U.S. by mentioning “self-defensive nuclear deterrence” and “retaliatory nuclear attack,” seemingly implying that the North Korean regime has amplified nuclear strike capabilities behind the scenes while buying time throughout the last three years’ denuclearization talks since 2018. Given that Kim made it clear last year that he is not bound by the pledge made during the summit talk in Singapore with U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a moratorium on nuclear missile testing, experts say that Pyongyang will carry out a test launch of the new ICBM system.

North Korea boasted off a new ICBM system during two-hour military parade starting from midnight on Saturday to celebrate the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party, the first official revelation of a new ICBM in two years and eight months since it displayed the Hwasong-15 in February 2018. The newly developed ICBM is up to 24 meters long, a two-meter extension of the Hwasong-15. “It is one of the world-level monster ICBMs, which requires the mobilization of a larger transporter erector launcher (TEL) with 22 axles on both sides of it than the nine-axle TEL for the Hwasong-15,” said a South Korean military source.

"If any force attempts to wield military power against us, we will preemptively utilize our capabilities to the extreme degree to seek retribution for attacks,” said North Korean leader Kim. The military parade demonstrated various types of new weapons including a large-scale multiple rocket launcher aiming to strike the South and a new tactical weapon - the North Korean version of the short-range missile Iskander or the KN-23.  

A high-ranking U.S. government official said in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo that it is disappointing that Pyongyang has not shifted its focus away from nuclear weaponry and ballistic missile programs.

Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com