There was a parade in North Korea Saturday, Kim Jong Un style, which means no marching bands, beauty queens or Shriners zipping around on tiny cars. This was a military parade for Kim to send the world, and probably more specifically the United States, a message that he’s still a threat. And, judging by the size of the new weapon being shown off, a serious one. With Kim watching and beaming with pride, a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) rolled through Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. It was brought out at the end of the unprecedented parade, sort of like the finale of an American 4th of July fireworks show, and the size and scope of it has military experts nervous.
Analysts concurred it was the largest road-mobile, liquid-fueled missile in the world, likely designed to carry multiple warheads in independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs).
Here’s why this weapon has the attention of the Pentagon. Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies tweeted out that this missile was “clearly aimed at overwhelming the US missile defense system in Alaska. If the ICBM carried three or four warheads, the US would need to spend around $1 billion on 12-16 interceptors to defend against each missile.”
Experts say the missile appeared to be more than 25 meters long and 2.5 meters wide, meaning it could carry 100 metric tons of fuel, making it too unstable to use. Military analysts feel the purpose of showcasing it allows Kim to send a message that North Korea has mobile ICBMs with MIRVs.
Andrei Lankov of Korea Risk Group gave some fairly chilling quotes to AFP. “Like it or not, North Korea is a nuclear power and is probably the third nuclear power which is capable of striking American cities, third after Russia and China.” Shin Beom-chul of the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy added, “It also signals that North Korea could carry out a launch if [President] Trump is re-elected and ignores the North Korean issue. If [Joe] Biden is elected and he doesn’t listen to North Korea, it will carry out a launch.”
Might not be a bad idea to mix in a question about this when the candidates debate again.