The missile that Kim Jong-un presented this weekend is capable of carrying multiple nuclear weapons.
This will probably make it easier for North Korea to hit an American city with a nuclear weapon using the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The size and possibly also the operation of the motor would ensure that the rocket can carry at least a thousand kilos of payload. That is what weapons experts say after the military parade in Pyongyang last Saturday.
Kim has copied from the former Soviet Union, says Ankit Panda, author of Kim Jong-un and the Bomb: Survival and Detterence in North Korea. According to Panda, it is more efficient to add warheads to a single system than to build more missiles and launchers.
He estimates that the missile can carry about four warheads. At the end of the 1970s, the medium-range missile SS-20, equipped with three warheads, was launched by the then Soviet Union.
The missile is seen as the “new strategic weapon” Kim promised to reveal in a New Year’s speech. It appears to be about two to three meters longer than the Hwasong-15, the previous nuclear missile that Kim presented in November 2017.
In addition, the new missile, called Hwasong-16 by the weapons experts, also appears wider. This makes it the largest ICBM in the world that can be transported by road. “It’s gigantic, a monster,” said Melissa Hanham, weapons expert and deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network knowledge platform.