North Korea’s 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways
North Korea’s 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways By Ankit Panda – The Diplomat
North Korea showed the world that it’s doing what it needs to deter its enemies.
On Saturday, North Korea staged a massive military parade to commemorate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder and grandfather of current leader, Kim Jong-un. The day, also known in the country as the ‘Day of the Sun,’ is the most important public holiday in North Korea. It commemorates not only the driving force behind the country’s founding, but also the patriarch of the Kim dynasty, whose personality cult rules supreme over North Korea to this day. The parade took place amid hot speculation in the United States, Japan, and South Korea that Pyongyang would look to also potentially test a sixth nuclear device, which it did not do.
Though it did not ultimately test a nuclear device on Saturday morning, what North Korea showed off at the parade should be equally concerning, even though it likely won’t be treated as such in the broader news cycle in the West. Below, I run through some of what was shown off with brief comment. In the coming days and weeks, we should see analytical deep dives into the parade footage from the community of dedicated North Korea watchers.
Keep in mind first that we’ve observed a pretty clear trend in North Korean ballistic missile testing over the past couple years. In addition to drastically increasing the frequency of its testing — North Korea has carried out 37 missile tests since the start of 2016 — Pyongyang has spent a great deal of effort toward developing survivable platforms and worked to operationalize a second-strike capability. It has additionally worked to decrease the time required for a missile launch and the satellite signature of its platforms. On top of this, North Korea has been steadily working to operationalize an intercontinental-range ballistic missile capable of striking most of the U.S. homeland.