North Korea attempted to flex its military muscle on Saturday, rolling a launcher carrying what might be the country’s largest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile in a nighttime Pyongyang parade marking 75 years of power for the country’s ruling party.
It wasn’t clear if the monster missile was active or simply a shell, but the unprecedented spectacle less than a month ahead of the U.S. presidential election could raise the specter of coming North Korean weapons tests.
North Korea hasn’t tested an ICBM in almost three years. And the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, conducted three high-wattage meetings with President Trump after the flight of Hwasong-15, a missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S.
This year, North Korea has taken a hostile posture toward the U.S., airing grievances and declaring its aversion to nuclear negotiations with Washington.
A military display was not unexpected on Saturday, the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party, and Kim didn’t directly criticize the U.S. during the festivities.
But the event stood out for size of the possible new missile, which appeared much larger than the Hwasong-15, and for the parade’s timing in the small hours of Saturday morning local time.
“This was most unusual,” Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korea expert at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, told the Daily News. “The amount of electricity they must have spent — in a country that lacks electricity even in the capital city — shows you they went all-out.”
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