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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.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cracks in nuclear command and control

An atomic bomb test in Nevada in 1957. Photo: © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to members on Friday that she's spoken to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley about preventing President Trump from accessing the nuclear codes.

Why it matters: Pelosi's message surfaced an uncomfortable reality about America's nuclear control structure: if the president wants to use nukes, there is no clear way to stop him.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.