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The hermit state unveiled its new Hwasong-16 intercontinental ballistic missile at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang during the annual military parade earlier this month. The new missile weapon is said to be the largest weapon that North Korea has made yet. The latest unveiling has alarmed South Korea, with Nam Sae-kyu, head of the Agency for Defence Development, warning this was unexpected.
He said: “I thought we were some 20 years ahead in terms of solid (propellant) ballistic missile or other missile systems.
“But after watching (the military parade), I thought the gap has more than halved.
“We have done a lot of analysis on the weapons rolled out during the parade.
“I felt North Korea’s weapons are improving more practically compared to five years ago.”
Mr Sae-kyu added that North Korea appears to have improved the flying stability of its missiles.
He added: “North Korea could have changed its design due to problems in flying stability.
“If the North conducts a test in the near future, this aspect is likely to be tested first.”
Xu Tianran, an Analyst for Open Nuclear Network, explained the new missile is capable of reaching any US city.
He added it could kill 2.5 million people in seconds.
He told The Sun: “If this project is realised, it would further raise the threat level to the US.
“However, it does send a strong political signal, and reflects the leadership’s preference for an even larger weapon.
“It could probably reach the whole of the US with a very large, high yield nuclear warhead, or two or more warheads if the warheads are smaller and lighter.”
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Markus Garlauskas, a former US intelligence officer for North Korea, added the new missile proved North Korea was taking its military threats seriously.
He said: “If the Hwasong-15 could carry a ‘super-large’ nuclear warhead to anywhere in the US, then the natural question is what can this larger missile carry?”
During the parade, North Korean leader Kim Jonh-un was pictured wearing a grey Western-style suit.
He also received flowers from children.
He also gave a speech and said North Korea would continue to “strengthen” its military for “self-defence and deterrence”.
He added he was grateful that nobody in North Korea has contracted Covid-19.
He said: “I wish good health to all the people around the world who are fighting the ills of this evil virus.”
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