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Pyongyang unveils solid-fueled new ICBM missiles

Posted February. 10, 2023 07:55,   

Updated February. 10, 2023 07:55


North Korea unveiled a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) apparently powered by a solid fuel engine at the night military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Army, which took place at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square on Wednesday night. This marks the first time the North has rolled out a new ICBM since October 2020, when it showed off the “Monster Missile” Hwasong-17.

According to the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun on Thursday, four newly introduced ICBM missiles were seen carried on transporter erector launchers (TEL) at the end of the parade, with the Hwasong-17 missile marching right ahead. “A fleet of ICBM missiles showed up, boasting our nation’s formidable nuclear power,” said the Rodong Sinmun. While its exact type was not identified, military authorities conjecture that the missile is a solid-fueled ICBM whose rocket motor went through a successful test in December, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending the event.

Mounted on a nine-axis TEL (18 wheels in total), the new ICBM missile is smaller than the Hwasong-17 (11-axis), whose strike range amounts to a maximum of 15,000 kilometers, but experts say it might be capable of striking the mainland U.S.

At the military parade, the North Korean authorities said the SRBM and long-range cruise missiles are “a fleet of units of employment of tactical nuclear weapons.” This is the first time the North mentioned “unit of tactical nuclear weapons employment” at a military parade. Following Kim Jong Un’s marshaling the test launch of cruise missiles deployed in the units of tactical nuclear weapons employment last October, the North has again boasted its nuclear readiness against South Korea.

Kim Ju Ae, the second daughter of Kim Jong Un, watched the parade along with her father, showing off her status as the fourth generation of the Kim Dynasty or the Mount Paektu lineage. The North Korean media called her “Dear” and “Respectable,” adding that Kim Ju Ae was seated in the VIP stand.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com · Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com