As tensions mount, North Korea displays potential new ICBM on day marking founder's anniversary

North Korea displayed long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on April 15. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE Pyongyang, North Korea Apr 15, 2017, 07.24 AM (IST)

North Korea on Saturday exhibited several ballistic missiles, including a possible new intercontinental missile (ICBM), during the military parade held to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the country's founder amid increased tensions with the United States.

During the parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, former president and founder of the country, the regime presented a hitherto unseen projectile mounted on trucks driving through the centre of the capital, prompting speculation that it might be a new ICBM powered by solid fuel.

However, experts were still analysing features of this new projectile, which could yet turn out to be just a model, as analysts have said in the past the North sometimes presents mock-ups of missiles that are still under development.

Earlier this year, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, who presided over Saturday's parade, warned that the country was in the process of finalizing the development of an ICBM that would be capable of reaching US territory.

In addition to Saturday's show of medium-range Musudan missiles and the KN-08, which can be launched from mobile platforms but has yet to be tested successfully, several of the regime's latest developments, such as the Pukguksong-1 and Pukguksong-2, were also displayed to the public for the first time during the parade through Kim Il-sung Square.

The first of these is a ballistic missile launched from a submarine (SLBM) and the second is a medium-range missile, also launched from a mobile platform, that was tested on Apr. 5, to which Washington responded this week by sending an aircraft carrier to the peninsula.

Washington has also hinted that it has looked into the possibility of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea to block any further development of the Juche regime's weapons development program. 

The parade comes at a time of increased regional tension, after Washington this week reacted to Pyongyang's most recent weapons tests by sending the US Navy's Carrier Strike Group 1, which includes submarines and an aircraft carrier, to the Korean peninsula.

Satellite images released on Thursday purportedly showed advanced preparations for a potential nuclear test at Punggye-ri in North Korea.

A spokesman for Korean People's Army responded on Friday by threatening to "ruthlessly ravage" the US if it chose to launch a preemptive strike, blaming "the Trump administration's reckless military provocation" for the current regional unease.

As well as celebrating the Day of the Sun, the nation's most important holiday, North Korea is also preparing to mark the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army on Apr. 25.