North Korea paraded new missiles during a military celebration in honor of the 105th birthday of its founder, Kim Il Sung. The display featured what appeared to be a new long-range missile and two new types of large missile canisters. The government also showcased two established ballistic missiles, one for submarines and one for on-land use.
The photos are certainly worth seeing.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 15, 2017
— Jeremy Koh (@JeremyKohCNA) April 15, 2017
According to the Wall Street Journal, an expert on North Korean weaponry said the missiles appeared to be extremely advanced, calling the new long-range missile—a newly-modified intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with elements of two other ICBMs—a “frankenmissile.” The Washington Post reported that the missile has a theoretical range of 7,500 miles, enough to reach all of the United States.
“We’re totally floored right now,” Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, told the Wall Street Journal. “I was not expecting to see this many new missile designs.”
North Korea displayed new long-range missiles at a parade yesterday pic.twitter.com/eKk4ARKHVO
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) April 15, 2017
While the two missile canisters appeared to accommodate missiles larger than any the country has publicly displayed, they were empty but insinuated North Korea’s intentions to build larger ICBMs. North Korea had previously launched the ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan during the summit between President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February.
— Josep Goded (@josepgoded) April 15, 2017
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) April 15, 2017
Despite speculation that the country would launch a nuclear test in celebration of its founder’s birth on Saturday, North Korea declined to do so.
On Friday, China‘s Foreign Minister Wang Yi discouraged the U.S. and North Korea from engaging in “tit for tat” behavior between the two countries after media reports claimed that the Trump administration was positioned to launch a preemptive strike if North Korea appeared to be launching such a test.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol accused Trump of fanning tensions between the two countries with his “aggressive” tweets, and he said Trump was “becoming more vicious and more aggressive” than previous presidents. However, Han committed to North Korea’s response should the U.S. retaliate.
“Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words … So that’s why. It’s not the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] but the U.S. and Trump that makes trouble,” Han told the Associated Press, via the Post. “We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. preemptive strike.”