Sun, Apr 16, 2017 - Page 1 News List

New missile paraded at N Korean celebration

Reuters, PYONGYANG and SEOUL

Weapons systems identified as KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles take part in a parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang yesterday.

Photo: AP

North Korea yesterday displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il-sung, as a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region.

Missiles appeared to be the main theme of a giant military parade, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.

Kim Jong-un, looking relaxed in a dark suit and laughing with aides, oversaw the festivities on the “Day of the Sun” at Pyongyang’s main Kim Il-sung Square.

Goose-stepping soldiers and marching bands filled the square, next to the Taedonggang River, which flows through Pyongyang, in the hazy spring sunshine, followed by tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and other weapons.

Propeller-powered planes flew in a 105 formation overhead.

Unlike at some previous parades attended by Kim Jong-un, there did not appear to be a senior Chinese official in attendance. China is North Korea’s lone major ally, but has spoken out against missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang and has supported UN sanctions.

Weapons analysts said they believed some of the missiles on display were new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

The North has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland US, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering all the necessary technology.

North Korea showed two new kinds of ICBM enclosed in canister launchers mounted on the back of trucks, suggesting that Pyongyang was working toward a “new concept” of ICBM, said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the US-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.

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

The Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles were also on parade. It was the first time North Korea had shown the missiles — which have a range of more than 1,000km — at a military parade.

Choe Ryong-hae, a close aide to Kim Jong-un, addressed the packed square with a warning to the US.

“If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare,” he said.

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