November 28, 2022 13:26
North Korea has bestowed a hero's title on a transporter erector launcher that was used to fire a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile.
This seems to be the first time that an inanimate object has been honored with the crackpot country's highest medal, reflecting the strategic importance the North places on its missile program.
The standing committee of the Supreme People's Assembly awarded the highest national honor of "Hero and Gold Star Medal and Order of National Flag 1st Class" to the Hwasong-17 launching vehicle, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
The mobile launcher runs on 22 wheels and weighs an estimated 160 tons. Yoo Seong-ok, a former chief of the Institute for National Security Strategy, said, "North Korea had been launching ICBMs from stationary pads from areas near Pyongyang, which has facilities to assemble them, but that was due to a lack of mobile launchers. With the successful launch of the Hwasong-17, the North is boasting about its ability launch an ICBM from anywhere."
A South Korean intelligence source said, "The bestowing of a hero's title on a mobile launcher instead of an ICBM reflects North Korea's strategy of launching surprise attacks." The North is believed to have around 120 mobile missile launchers of varying sizes.
Meanwhile, North Korea's state media have been showing more photos of Kim's daughter. The Rodong Sinmun daily featured a group photo marking the launch of the Hwasong-17 with the caption: "We shall unwaveringly follow and show loyalty only to the Baekdu bloodline" -- meaning the Kim dynasty that traces its ancestry to Mt. Baekdu.
The photo shows Kim's daughter shaking hands with a commander in a military uniform who is bowing slightly while she stands upright and clasps his hand in both of hers. When she was first wheeled out by the North Korean propaganda machine on Nov. 19, the girl was described as a "beloved" child, but she seems to have been promoted to "most precious."
The girl wears a fur-lined black coat and has her hair done like her mother Ri Sol-ju. Kim promoted all the military officials involved in the successful launch.
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