Have North Korea’s Missile Tests Paid Off?

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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?

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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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