North Korean Parade Fuels Concern About Giant New ICBM

Missile is by far North Korea's largest road-mobile ICBM

This weekend, North Korea held a large military parade commemorating the ruling party’s 75th anniversary. Such parades tend to emphasize military readiness and show off gaudy, relatively new weapons. This year’s was no exception, with a flurry of attention centered on a very large new ICBM.

We don’t have a name or specifications, just photos from the parade. A lot of the crowd that usually frets about North Korea’s weapons noted this to be the biggest one we saw, and seem to be drawing the conclusion that must mean it’s the most powerful and most dangerous.

Which is just a guess. Size doesn’t dictate power or level of advancement for an ICBM, and if anything this missile is just a huge version of existing designs. Presumably it will go farther because it’s got room for all that fuel, but the ICBM is still just delivering a warhead if it is used.

Since North Korea never tested such a missile, or even bragged about having it, it’s also possible that the point of this big, noticeable design was to be big and noticeable at a parade, and one for an important anniversary.

North Korea almost always shows off ICBMs at these parades, but didn’t in 2019, owing to the hope for diplomatic progress. With no progress made lately, they are going back to traditional parades as readiness narrative.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.