October 12, 2020 09:37
North Korea on Saturday unveiled a new mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile in a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Workers Party.
The parade also featured a massive artillery weapon that is thought capable of hitting any target in South Korea and a smaller Iskander-type missile designed to evade anti-missile batteries.
The huge ICBM was carried on a 22-wheeler flatbed truck and is even bigger than the Hwasong-15 that was unveiled three years ago. It is thought to be the biggest of its type in the world.
The Hwasong-15 is already capable of striking targets on the U.S. mainland, and the new missile can probably carry a warhead twice as large as the earlier model or two to three warheads that can simultaneously strike multiple cities in America.
The North appears to have perfected the technologies for miniaturizing nuclear warheads and making some advances in their re-entry capability into the atmosphere.
The new submarine-launched missile is also believed to have a longer range than previous models. If a 4,000-5,000-ton submarine currently under development ends up carrying it, Guam, Hawaii and even the U.S. mainland could fall within its reach.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have displayed the latest weapons to escape blame from his impoverished people for the failed summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, international sanctions, the coronavirus epidemic and flood damage to crops.
But in a speech in front of a huge crowd herded into Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang, Kim struck a conciliatory note, referring to South Koreans as "beloved compatriots in the South" and adding, "I hope that the day comes soon when this health crisis is overcome and the North and South can once again join hands."
The remarks come just a few weeks after North Korean soldiers brutally murdered a South Korean official at sea, doused his body in fuel and set him ablaze.
Kim also affected humility toward his own people. He thanked North Koreans and fought back tears as he apologized to those who were not able to attend the parade due to difficulties like the epidemic and recent flood damage.
The parade was for the first time held at night, which made for an impressive spectacle amid bright lights and fireworks.
The tens of thousands of soldiers and Pyongyang residents who attended the ceremony did not wear face masks, while Kim in his speech repeated the implausible claim that the North does not have a single case of coronavirus infection.
But no foreign diplomats or other overseas dignitaries were invited. One researcher at a state-run think tank here said, "That demonstrates fears for coronavirus being spread from outside North Korea's borders."
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