Military parades are meant to show strength and intimidate other countries. North Korea held another similar parade and displayed a huge missile. But experts doubt whether it is real.
North Korea presented a new ICBM at a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party. Photos from state broadcaster KCTV on Saturday showed the rocket being driven across the square while ruler Kim Jong Un watched from a stand. In the midst of the corona pandemic, thousands of soldiers and spectators without protective masks gathered in the capital Pyongyang.
North Korea will continue to expand its army in self-defense and deterrence, ruler Kim Jong-un announced in a speech. Experts believe that the new ICBM is the largest of its kind in the world. It is estimated to be 24 meters long and 2.5 meters in diameter. The first test of the missile could take place around the time the future US president takes office.
Will the American defense system be able to withstand such a missile?
North Korea had already tested a missile with a range as far as the mainland of the United States in 2017. However, experts believe the new weapon could be designed to bypass the US missile defense system. “It’s a frightening prospect for the already underperforming US missile defense system,” said Melissa Hanham of the NGO Open Nuclear Network.
The missile was “clearly designed to overwhelm the American missile defense system in Alaska,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Judging by the images, the ICBM can carry multiple warheads. To intercept this, the US would have to spend about a billion dollars on a dozen interceptors.
However, observers regularly warn that the devices Pyongyang demonstrates during its parades could be dummies or models. Often there is no proof that the devices will work until they have been tested.
The military parade was a great spectacle
On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Labor Party, North Korea wanted to try to show strength with an unusual military nighttime parade. State television showed images of the anniversary celebrations with thousands of soldiers marching in goose steps, vehicles loaded with missiles, cheering crowds and fireworks in the center of the capital Pyongyang.
He wishes all people in the world who fought the coronavirus good health, said ruler Kim Jong Un in a speech under the night sky before the start of the army show. “I also send warm regards to the South Koreans with the same wish.”
“My efforts and dedication were not enough”
He also apologized for the difficult living conditions in the country. He was ashamed that he could not adequately repay the enormous trust of the population, said Kim, who at times seemed emotionally moved. “My efforts and dedication were not enough to get our people out of their difficult living conditions,” he said on a video shown on state television. He blamed international sanctions, hurricanes and the coronavirus.
North Korea, Pyongyang: Kim Jong-un, ruler of North Korea, delivers his speech at a ceremony. (Source: dpa)
The army in South Korea assumed the festivities would take place on Saturday night. They are included. Due to its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is subject to severe international sanctions and is largely diplomatically isolated.
North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection
Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, delivered his speech on a podium in Kim Il Sung Square, which was brightly lit. It was midnight when he took the stage. The speech was repeatedly interrupted by cheers from the masses and applause. Some soldiers and civilians were crying. Nobody wore a mask to protect against the corona virus. North Korea has not yet reported a single case of infection.
At the subsequent military parade, the self-proclaimed nuclear power presented ballistic missiles of various distances, including the new model. At a party rally at the end of 2019, Kim Jong Un threatened that the world would see a ‘new strategic weapon’ in his country in the near future. He also stated at the time that Pyongyang was no longer bound by its moratorium on testing for atomic bombs and ICBMs.
The background to this is the faltering nuclear negotiations between the communist leaders and the US. Since the failed summit between the two countries in Vietnam in February 2019, talks have not progressed.
Pyongyang uses the holidays to show strength
Pyongyang often uses important holidays or days of remembrance to show military strength. The time of day for the gun show was considered unusual this time. First, the General Staff in South Korea announced that there were signs that a major military parade had taken place in Pyongyang in the early morning hours. According to observers, the leadership apparently hoped that the nighttime mass spectacle would have a greater impact.
“The decision to stick with this at the beginning of the evening makes sense as Kim Jong Uns puts a strong emotional emphasis on overcoming the odds,” North Korean expert Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter. This should suggest: “The light of the Labor Party will penetrate the darkness”,