North Korea paraded its military might Saturday in a massive public display that experts said showed new capabilities for its long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Kim Jong Un did not speak during the huge event, which celebrates the birthday of North Korea’s founding ruler Kim Il Sung, but a top official warned that the North would stand up to any threat posed by the United States.
Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of “creating a war situation” on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching U.S. forces to the region.
“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” said Choe.
The parade, the annual highlight of North Korea’s most important holiday, came amid growing international worries that North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. shores.
Experts said the parade included prototype missiles that were longer than previous versions and appeared to have improved launch capabilities.
Kim Dong-yub, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the canisters and trucks suggested that the North was developing technology to “cold launch” ICBMs, ejecting them from the canisters before they ignite. This would allow North Korea to prevent its limited number of ICBM-capable launcher trucks from being damaged during launches and also make the missiles harder to detect after they’re fired, he said. Cold launches would also allow the missiles to be fired from silos.
He said it’s likely that North Korea is also developing solid-fuel ICBMs and that some of the rockets inside the canisters seen on Saturday might have been prototypes.
Other military hardware at the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery, as well as a solid-fuel missile designed to be fired from submarines.