Oct 10, 2020 - World

North Korea unveils new ballistic missile during military parade

A person in Seoul watching the North Korean military parade on television on Oct. 10.
A person in Seoul watching the North Korean military parade on television on Oct. 10. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade on Saturday night, though it is unclear whether the weapon is functional or built for show, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: If it does work, analysts say it would be North Korea's largest long-range missile to date, potentially able to fly further and carry a more powerful nuclear warhead than the country's previous ICBMs.

  • It not known whether the missile has been flight-tested.

The big picture: The technology demonstrates that the country has improved its missile and nuclear innovation despite pressure from the United States, international sanctions, typhoons and the coronavirus pandemic.

  • "What North Korea has shown us, what appears to be a new liquid-fueled ICBM that seems to be a derivative of what was tested back in late 2017, known as the Hwasong-15, is much bigger and clearly more powerful than anything in the DPRK's arsenal," Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean studies at the Washington D.C.-based Center for the National Interest, told CNN.
  • "North Korea continues to evolve as a 'normal' nuclear weapons power, focusing on improving and augmenting its systems for survivability and penetrability. No big surprises, but more diversity and improved capabilities. They aren’t giving them up," Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, tweeted Saturday.

What they're saying: “We will continue to build our national defense power and self-defensive war deterrence,” Reuters quoted Kim Jong-un as saying during a speech at the parade.

  • Kim also said that the country’s military power would not be used preemptively and made no direct mention of the now-stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S., Reuters reported.
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