North Korea’s ‘Biggest Ever Missile’ Touted as Possible Centerpiece of Grand-Scale Military Parade
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In September, reports cited satellite photographs as suggesting that North Korea was getting ready to display its newest and biggest long-range missiles during a military parade on 10 October devoted to the 75th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party.
North Korea may have already held a military parade devoted to the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean Workers’ Party early on Saturday, according to South Korea’s military, cited by Reuters.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted as having spotted signs a parade involving large-scale military equipment and personnel had either taken place in the capital Pyongyang, or was proceeding.
REUTERS / MAXAR TECHNOLOGIESA WorldView-1 satellite image shows an overview of people assembled in formation near Kim Il Sung Square and rehearsing for the upcoming military parade of the 75th Anniversary of the Workers’ Party of North Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 17, 2020
The North Korean state media has not released any images or reports on a parade to date.
‘Biggest Ever Missile’
The anniversary had been widely anticipated to showcase new strategic weapons, with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un expected to deliver messages to domestic and foreign audiences.
Earlier, satellite pictures seemed to suggest that massive preparations were underway for the impending parade, with formations of thousands of troops preparing to march through Pyongyang.
According to The Sun Online, experts suggested North Korea might use the event to unveil its newest and biggest long-range missile, the much-touted Hwasong-15.
The “new type of intercontinental ballistic rocket weaponry system” is deemed by the US to be capable of reaching any part of the country.
The publication cited Dr. Ramon Pacheco-Pardo, an associate professor in international relations at King’s College London, as anticipating that the leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Jong-un might avail himself of the opportunity to unveil the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the event.
He added it would be the “perfect time” for this, allowing to make good on earlier promises of a “surprise”.
Earlier, the programme 38North at the Stimson Center, dedicated to analyzing events in and around North Korea, was earlier cited as having discovered signs of around 40 formations of troops practicing in a replica of Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.
It was reported by the North Korea watchers that a fleet of some 69 coaches along with other trucks and vehicles had been assembled, with netting used to camouflage any movements.
According to the report, roads seemed to have been sealed off for security reasons, and thousands of people were spotted moving along the suggested parade route.
North Korea had also reportedly completed a new VIP viewing stand timed to the occasion, while the recently constructed Pyongyang General Hospital, said to have been erected in just 200 days, was described as “one of the main propaganda pillars” for the festivities.
In September, reports cited satellite photographs as suggesting that North Korea was gearing up to display its best weapons during the military parade on 10 October devoted to the 75th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party.
There were speculations that it might even show off its Hwasong-15 missile, the Sunday Times reported, as images said to be from the rehearsal area for the forthcoming parade allegedly showed an installation of “large temporary structures” that were capable of concealing the country’s newest and biggest long-range missiles.
The Hwasong-15 missile, which estimates say can be fired up to 13,000-kilometers, was first launch-tested in November 2017.
Last year, the United States Forces Korea, part of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, had publicly acknowledged for the first time that the ICBM-level rocket was able to reach any part of the continental US.
The last time North Korea broadcast a military parade live on television was in 2017, when it showcased a number of large ICBMs amid spiraling tensions with the United States.
At the start of 2020, Kim Jong-un had vowed to unveil a new unspecified “strategic weapon”, after making a cryptic reference in December 2019 to an unspecified “gift”. A statement carried by North Korean state media had warned it was the United States’s choice what its “Christmas gift” would be.
Gen. Charles Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces and air component commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, was later quoted as saying on 17 December that he expected this “gift” to be “some type of long-range ballistic missile”.
Korean Central News AgencyHwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile
The current events come as denuclearisation talks with Washington have stalled, and some analysts expected Kim Jong-un might use the military parade as a show of power ahead of the US presidential election in November.