Have North Korea’s Missile Tests Paid Off?

April 27, 2017
Melissa Hanham

This article originally appeared on BBC on April 20, 2017.

October 10 Military Parade, KCNA

Kim Jong-un put on quite a show to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founding leader. More new hardware was on display than ever before, including new inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

To its domestic audience, it was a demonstration of technological might and prosperity. To outsiders it was a threat: be you near or far you will eventually be in range. The Kim Jong-un years have seen increasingly frequent missile tests, all defying UN sanctions, but have they made any difference to the North’s capabilities?


North Korea has paraded ICBMs since 2012, when they revealed not only a missile known as the KN-08, but an illicitly-procured Chinese truck as a TEL. The missiles were initially criticized as “fakes” but over time, improvements made them credible. The latest parade appeared to show two different solid fuel ICBMs in addition to a dramatically altered KN-08.

Outsiders have dismissed North Korea’s ability for decades but should probably pay attention to a few key developments.

Continue to read on BBC.

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