In a midnight parade on Saturday, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the communist regime’s ruling party, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un avoided any direct criticism of President Trump or the United States. Kim did however, warn that his country would “fully mobilize” its nuclear force if threatened.
To reinforce his message, the low-key parade displayed several new weapons systems, including what appeared to be a large new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). What could be the North’s biggest and longest-range ICBM so far, was mounted on a never before seen 11-axel vehicle, noted AP.
Pyongyang also displayed numerous solid-fuel missiles, including what AP said, “could be an advanced version of its Pukguksong family of missiles designed to be fired from submarines or land-based mobile launchers.”
Kim has expressed frustration over the stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration. In December he pledged he would soon unveil a “new strategic weapon to the world.”
Melissa Hanham, at the Austria-based Open Nuclear Network believes the ICBM paraded Saturday is that new weapon, reported AP. In 2017 the North demonstrated the ability to hypothetically reach the U.S. mainland when it tested its Hwasong-15 ICBM. Hanham said that this larger missile likely means Kim wants a long range rocket able to carry more warheads.
She also added, “I also think that this is a message to the United States — he has already declared he no longer holds himself to the moratorium and he has something new as well he may wish to test.”
According to AP, “Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country.” But Kim stated, “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might in a preemptive manner to punish them,” he said.
Due to the closeness of the U.S. presidential; election, North Korea will likely avoid provocations or talks until the next president is decided. Other reports have said that while Kim views Trump as dangerous, he would prefer to work with him to resolve the nuclear standoff than with former Vice President Joe Biden.