North Korea demonstrated its missile production muscle during a night-time military parade that showcased more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) than ever unveiled at one time before and a new launcher that may indicate the development of a new solid-fuel missile system.
The widely anticipated parade was held in Pyongyang on Wednesday night to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army, state news agency KCNA reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the parade with his daughter, who is seen as playing a possible future leadership role in the country’s hereditary dictatorship.
The ICBMs paraded through the capital demonstrated North Korea’s “greatest” nuclear strike capability, KCNA said, adding that it also featured tactical nuclear units.
Images from the event featured as many as 11 of North Korea’s largest ICBMs, including the Hwasong-17 which is suspected to have a target range that would allow it to strike nearly anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead. It was first tested last year.
The Hwasong-17s were followed in the parade by what some analysts said could be a prototype or mockup of a new solid-fuel ICBM in canister launchers.
Most of North Korea’s largest ballistic missiles use liquid fuel, which requires them to be loaded with propellant at their launch site and is a time-consuming process. Developing a solid-fuel ICBM has long been seen as a key goal for the country, as it could make its nuclear missiles harder to spot and destroy during a conflict.
It is unclear how close the suspected new, solid-fuel missile could be to testing.
North Korea has forged ahead with its ballistic missile programme, launching larger and more advanced missiles despite United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions.