Pyongyang paraded on Saturday 10th October 2020 an intercontinental ballistic missile of unprecedented size. According to experts, this is a signal sent to the United States
North Korea unveiled a giant new intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday 10th October 2020 in a military parade, an explicit threat to the US missile defence system but also an implicit challenge for the President of the United States, according to experts.
From his podium, leader Kim Jong Un paid close attention to the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Placed on a tractor-erector-launcher that paraded on Kim Il Sung Square – named after the founder of the regime – in Pyongyang, it was the climax of this unprecedented night parade.
World’s Largest Liquid-Burning Mobile Missile
Experts unanimously pointed out that it is the largest mobile liquid-combustion missile in the world, most likely designed to carry a multi-warhead missile (MIRV).
For Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute, this is “clearly aimed at testing the American missile defence system in Alaska”.
If the ICBM has three or four warheads, he explained, the United States will have to spend about $ 1 billion (€ 740 million) to have 12 to 16 interceptor missiles for each missile.
“At this price, I’m pretty sure North Korea can add warheads faster than we can add interceptors,” he said.
The length of this missile is estimated at 24 meters and its diameter at 2.5 meters, which, according to specialist Markus Schiller, can carry 100 tons of fuel.
Nothing proves that it works
It is, however, so large and heavy that it is virtually unusable, he pointed out.
“This makes absolutely no sense, except in the context of a threat equation which would be to send the following message: ‘We now have a mobile ICBM with MIRVs, be very scared.’
Specialists from North Korea regularly point out that the devices exhibited by Pyongyang during the parades may be models and that there is no evidence that they work until they have been tested.
On Saturday, the missile was on a tractor-erector-launcher, which had 11 axles, never seen before. This model is much larger than the eight-axle vehicles made in China and so far used in the North.
“This device is perhaps more terrifying than the missile,” said Melissa Hanham, a researcher with the Open Nuclear Network organization.
“If North Korea is able to produce its own chassis, then there are less constraints on the number of ICBMs it can launch.”
A message to call for the resumption of negotiations
Shortly before being invested president of the United States in 2017, Donald Trump had tweeted that North Korea “would not manage” to develop a weapon capable of reaching American territory.
The first year of his tenure, which saw the North launch an ICBM that could achieve this goal, was marked by a series of exchanges of insults between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un before a historic diplomatic rapprochement.
Negotiations on the denuclearization of North Korea have stalled since the failure of the Hanoi summit in 2019.
This ICBM is proof that the North has continued to develop its military arsenal throughout the diplomatic process, experts say, giving Pyongyang more leverage to demand a return to the negotiating table.
“Like it or not, North Korea is a nuclear power and is probably the third nuclear power capable of striking American cities, third after Russia and China,” Korea’s Andrei Lankov told AFP Risk Group.
No reaction from Trump or Biden
Kim Jong Un wanted to send a message to the United States to show them that he has improved his weaponry and that if they “do not want to make an agreement now, they will have to do it later, which would be worse for them. , the international community, ”he added.
More than 12 hours after the parade ended, North Korean television reported that neither Donald Trump nor his Democratic rival Joe Biden had tweeted.
According to Shin Beom-chul of the Korea National Security Research Institute, by showing off the missile rather than launching it, Pyongyang avoided crossing the red line.
“But it also shows that North Korea could proceed with a launch if Trump is re-elected and ignores the North Korean issue,” he told AFP
However, “if Biden is elected and he doesn’t listen to North Korea, he’ll do a launch.”