Chinese analyst says North Korea missiles are mockups

By Elizabeth Shim  |  April 17, 2017 at 3:02 PM
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April 17 (UPI) -- A Chinese missile expert says he thinks the midrange and intercontinental missiles that were on display during North Korea's parade Saturday are mockups.

In an article in Chinese state tabloid Global Times, Yang Chengjun, a retired senior colonel and Chinese military expert, said North Korea does not yet have the technology to guarantee a successful launch.

Yang also said it was the shapes of the missiles at the commemorative event that caught his eye.

"At this year's military parade North Korea caught the world's attention by showing an ICBM projectile similar in shape to the new Russian ICBM Topol-M and the Chinese Dongfeng-31A ICBM," Yang wrote.

Yang said the display could mean North Korea has not yet developed a new ICBM, adding Pyongyang's current levels of missile development and technology are not that advanced.

The analyst also said North Korea has at most experienced a 50 percent success rate in its tests of midrange missiles and ICBMs.

But David Schmerler, an analyst with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, wrote on CNN the increased visibility of solid fuel missiles that require less preparation prior to launch, and the diminished presence of liquid-fueled projectiles at the parade, suggest North Korea is advancing its program to "extend beyond the much older Soviet-based systems what we had seen up till now."

China has urged its neighbor to pursue the path of denuclearization but is also taking precautions at its border.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a nongovernmental organization in Hong Kong, stated Tuesday that Beijing's ministry of environmental protection has issued instructions to conduct 24-hour surveillance operations in the provinces of Jilin and Liaoning, adjacent to North Korea, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Beijing is concerned North Korea's next nuclear test could result in radioactive contamination of soil.

The Global Times issued an editorial on Sunday stating that it is becoming "increasingly likely" North Korea will conduct a sixth nuclear test.

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