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Kim Jong-un unveiled North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads at a huge military parade earlier this month. Now an inside source has warned the country is looking to show off its missile capabilities with a series of tests beginning next year. It comes after reports suggested the North Korean ICBM’s are unable to reach the atmosphere.
A source close to North Korea’s military told Daily NK the country is looking to trial their new ICBM’s with an atmosphere re-entry test.
They said: “The authorities are preparing a test of the new ICBM for early next year.
“The timing for the test could, however, change at any time depending on decisions by the leadership.”
It is not confirmed whether the ICBM’s are able to reach the atmosphere, as North Korea has only conducted high-altitude tests so far.
Bruce Klingner, North Korea specialist at the Heritage Foundation, also expects to see a ICBM test next year.
He added: “What I would expect is to see that ICBM tested next year.
“North Korea tends to…do something very provocative in the first year of a new US or South Korean administration.”
He added the country may watch the US election closely, and now “have a powerful way of signalling their dissatisfaction now by testing this missile”.
But the Daily NK’s source also claimed the newly debuted warheads are unable to target multiple countries at once.
They suggested North Korea lacks the technology to have their warheads follow different trajectories.
They added North Korea’s missile experts consider the big success of the new ICBM to be the successful miniaturisation of existing warheads, but will need several years to develop technology allowing them to aim at multiple targets.
North Korea’s new missiles also carry only two warheads at once, according to Daily NK’s source.
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As a result of the new ICBM’s limitations, North Korea is also planning to roll out more improvements.
Authorities plan to have the missile system carry four warheads by 2022 with more miniaturisations to existing weapons.
The source also claimed that the new missiles have a maximum range of 15,000 kilometres, but does not have a solid fuel rocket engine.
North Korean authorities have nonetheless touted their new system, and claimed in its current form the ICBM can “completely destroy” the US mainland at “any time”.
It comes after US officials have warned North Korea’s new missiles pose a global threat.
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, speaking ahead of a meeting with South Korea’s counterpart Suh Wook, said the US remains committed to helping maintain peace.
He added: “We agree that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the world.”
“The United States remains committed to the security of the Republic of Korea.”
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