North Korea’s New Missiles Are Fakes

Analysts say the weapons paraded around Pyongyang last week are just mockups, and fairly sloppy ones at that.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

North Korea put on quite the show last week, proudly displaying the country’s advanced new missiles in an extravagant military parade. However, analysts who studied the photos of the weapons say that they’re fakes, the Associated Press reports.“There is no doubt that these missiles were mock-ups,” Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker (of Germany’s Schmucker Technologie, which has advised NATO on missile issues) wrote on Armscontrolwonk.com.

Three days after a widely heralded missile test ended in humiliating failure, North Korea paraded its weapons in a grand display celebrating the anniversary of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung. However, they didn’t seem to think through the logistics of creating a likely looking fake. The weapons featured in the April 15 parade included both liquid-fuel and solid-fuel components which would never fly together, the AP reports.

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Schiller and Schmucker say that the probability of North Korea actually having an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is unlikely.

Calling the parade a “dog and pony show,” they say that undulating casings on the missiles indicate that the metal is probably too thin to endure actual flight. Further, the missiles didn’t fit the launchers they were carried on, and even though they were supposedly the same make, each missile looked slightly different.

“We’ve seen them play this game before. This kind of trying to manipulate in order to exaggerate your military force is certainly not anything new,” David Wright, co-director of global security at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told ABC News. But, he added, “We don’t know whether they have simply put out mock-ups to suggest they are further along than they are.”  North Korea could indeed be developing long range missiles, but is not as far along as it would like the world to think, Wright said.

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