North Korea is preparing to launch a new 'monster missile' to mark the birthday of Kim Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il-sung.
The hermit nation have reportedly been using satellite subterfuge to test parts of its latest creation, with a launch set to violate sanctions placed on the country.
Analysts say Kim Jong-un's top priority is to complete an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which can carry multiple nuclear warheads.
He actually unveiled the Hwasong-17 in October 2020 at a military parade but it has never been fully test launched.
According to American intelligence, North Korea's recent satellite launches may have secretly been used to test parts of the Hwasong-17.
US-based security analyst Ankit Panda explained that "reconnaissance satellite" launches on February 27 and March 5 likely the saw the technology to "carry and deliver multiple warheads" tried out.
"North Korea hasn’t demonstrated the latter capability before, even if it has tested ICBMs capable of ranging the United States three times," he added.
According to Ahn Chan-il, a North Korean studies scholar, Kim Jong-un is disguising these tests as satellite launches to "buy time" whilst his experts rush to complete the Hwasong-17.
"In order to ensure accuracy and reentry capability, such weapons need to be tested," explained Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul
According to Ahn, Kim Jong-un is keen to get it ready by April 15 which will mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung.
The occasion will likely sees various military parades and celebrations, as do most domestic anniversaries in North Korea.
"It’s very likely that North Korea is going to test-fire an ICBM on April 15 for Kim Il-sung’s birthday," Ahn said.
Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, agreed that April 15 is likely to be the big day.
He added that the use of "space rockets" to masks the test launches is likely a ploy to "minimise backlash from the international community".
This comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula following the election of new conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol in South Korea.
He has already threatened North Korea with preemptive strikes and dubbed Kim Jong-un a "rude boy".
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