Oct. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea is closer to narrowing the technological gap with Seoul on weapons, a South Korean analyst says.
Nam Sae-kyu, head of South Korea's Agency for Defense Development, said the North's development of solid propellant ballistic missiles have halved the gap in 20 years, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.
Nam, who was testifying before Seoul's parliamentary National Defense Committee, said the South is "quite ahead" of the North in the area of missile technology and guided weapons.
But the weapons North Korea displayed at its 75th party anniversary parade on Oct. 10 show the regime is quickly catching up, Nam said.
"I came away thinking North Korea is developing [weapons] extremely pragmatically compared to five years ago," Nam said.
The predawn military parade showcased a new intercontinental ballistic missile on a transporter with 11 axles, the KN-23, a North Korean short-range ballistic missile and three kinds of super-large multiple-rocket launchers.
The South Korean analyst said the pace of North Korean weapons development is similar to the South's experience with developing the Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile. Seoul was able to test-launch the weapon within a year, Nam said.
The analyst also said North Korea in total exhibited 11 new weapons at the parade, and that a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Pukguksong-4ㅅ, is almost identical to the Pukguksong-3 missile.
South Korean assessments of the North's weapons comes at a time when Seoul has been postponing the procurement of new defense technology, including an intelligence analysis system for the drone Global Hawk RQ-4, JoongAng Ilbo reported Tuesday.
The system will arrive in Korea in November, Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said. The delay was due to COVID-19 and extended negotiations with the United States and defense firms, according to the report.