Saturday, 22 July, 2017

North Korea Displays New ICBM, Other Missiles

Theresa Hayes | 18 April, 2017, 00:27

While Trump has employed tough rhetoric in response to North Korea's recent missile tests, the new US president's options appear limited in dealing with a challenge that has vexed his Oval Office predecessors.

North Korea on Saturday unveiled what appears to be its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), staging a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang amid increased military tensions on the peninsula.

The failed launch will sting in Pyongyang because it came a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.

The parade also included large rockets covered by canisters in two different types of transporter erector launcher trucks, or TELs.

While China advocates for diplomatic outreach, the officials said the goal of engagement would have to be North Korea's denuclearization.

One of Kim's top spokespeople, Choe Ryong Hae, today vowed North Korea would "beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice".

The threat comes amid sharp words from President Donald Trump, and growing fears that Kim Jong Un could mark an important holiday with yet another nuclear test.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that Sunday's missile exploded on launch.

Tensions are deepening as the USA has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula and is conducting its biggest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea.

"If the USA comes up with a risky military option, then the first card is in our hands".

This year, however, the holiday also showcased what appeared to be long-range and submarine-based missiles: weapons the country has always been warned against possessing.

Amid increasingly strident war rhetoric from the USA, residents in regions near to North Korea offer that the recent moves are more of the same, noting that warnings of a nuclear attack are a threat commonly wielded by those who seek to destabilize regions.

"On the other hand", Yun said, "I think it does signal that the Chinese are concerned about a potential escalation, or even potential conflict" between the United States and North Korea, as North Korea plans a nuclear test and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier pulls up to Korea's coast.

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack", Choe added.

Other military hardware at the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery, as well as a solid-fuel missile created to be fired from submarines. North Korea is a problem.

"North Korea made sure that the world saw that they are working on ICBMs and what we saw at the military parade was a prototype ICBM that will become the real deal after the necessary tests in the future", Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior fellow at The Sejong Institute in South Korea, told NBC News.

North Korean state media warned that such "reckless acts of aggression" would be countered with "whatever methods the U.S. wants to take".

Analysts warn that even failed missile launches provide valuable knowledge to North Korea as it tries to build its weapons program. They've tested nuclear weapons five times, a number of times successfully. They have deployed an [intercontinental ballistic missile] that's capable of reaching the continental United States...that they've never tested.

Speculation that it could conduct a sixth blast in the coming days to coincide with the anniversary has reached fever pitch, with specialist United States website 38North describing its Punggye-ri test site as "primed and ready" and White House officials saying military options were "already being assessed".

Pyongyang has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and the United States.