North Korea flaunts long-range missiles in massive parade

Audrey Hill
April 19, 2017

So far this year, North Korea has conducted four missile launches, including as recently as last Tuesday when North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.

There's also anger in Pyongyang over the annual spring military exercises that the USA holds with South Korea.

Tension has been building since Kim Jong Un announced in his New Year's message that the country was close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

A series of what appeared to be KN-08 missiles were among the weapons rolled out on trucks.

The United States has warned that a policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

The parade may also feature some of the country's most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Choe Ryong Hae, who some presume as the second-most powerful official in North Korea, said Saturday that the new USA government under Donald Trump was "creating a war situation" in the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

He will also aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the USA will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

Rows of military bands and goose-stepping and sword-wielding soldiers marched through Pyongyang's main Kim Il-sung square for the "Day of the Sun" celebrations, as a black-suited Kim Jong-un watched.

"However, North Korea has a habit of showing off new concepts in parades before they ever test or launch them", Hanham said.

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In a show of force a few days ago, the US dispatched what President Donald Trump called an "armada" of ships, including an aircraft carrier, into waters off the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean soldiers also rolled out what appeared to be another large rocket covered by a canister.

After a two-month policy review, officials settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement", USA officials said Friday.

North Korea is working to develop a nuclear missile that can strike the United States.

Another missile launch or nuclear test "can't be ruled out", he said, but the recent U.S. cruise missile strike on Syria and Washington's tough stance "may give Pyongyang some pause". Also on display was a powerful midrange missile that outside analysts call a "Musudan", and which can potentially reach USA air bases in Guam, as well as a new solid-fuel midrange missile that can be fired from land mobile launchers, making them harder to detect before launch.

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

Senior US intelligence sources claimed Kim Jong-un is in the final stages of preparing for his sixth nuclear test - with Mr Trump warning that he will not hesitate to respond if it reaches for the trigger.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests a year ago alone, advancing its goal to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

Other senior officials joining Kim at the parade podium included Kim Won Hong, who the South Korean government had said earlier this year was sacked from his job as state security minister, presumably over corruption.

An official from South Korea's Unification Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules, confirmed that the man was Kim Won Hong and said his appearance shows he has been reinstated from a "purge state". These missiles concern South Korea because they're harder to detect before launch than liquid-fuel missiles, which need to be filled with fuel before launch and also require fuel trucks and other vehicles that could be spotted by satellites.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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