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North Korea showed ICBM launch in brief video, report says

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (C-R) has pledged to build a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. File Photo by KCNA/UPI
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (C-R) has pledged to build a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- North Korea released video footage of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch but the image may have been manipulated, according to a South Korean press report.

Display of North Korean missile capability comes as barges that handle North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missiles are returning to the center of activity.

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Pyongyang's Korea Central Television recently aired a program showing the takeoff of the Hwasong-15, a long-range missile. The brief segment was included in a report on a concert for military officials, Yonhap reported Monday.

North Korean state media on Friday showed the missile being launched while producing a plume of exhaust. A road-mobile launcher used in transporting the weapon is not visible in the video, according to Yonhap.

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The Kim Jong Un regime launched the Hwasong-15 on Nov. 29, 2017. North Korea used a road-mobile launcher at the time to transport the missile to a launch pad. The footage released Friday may have not shown the same weapon deployed in 2017, and if the Hwasong-15 was tested after 2017, it likely would have been detected in the South, according to Yonhap.

Pyongyang also may not have the capability to launch ICBMs from a road-mobile launcher, which would enable the regime to fire faster and launch a surprise attack, reducing reaction time.

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In November 2019, South Korea's Defense Intelligence Agency said that the North likely did not have the ability launch ICBMs from transporter erector launchers.

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North Korea reopened a communication hotline with the South last week, but Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong on Sunday warned Seoul against "premature, hasty judgment" about a potential inter-Korean summit. Kim also pressed Seoul to suspend joint exercises with the United States

Satellite imagery shows North Korea has not stopped preparing barges used in submarine-launched ballistic missile preparations.

Analyst Peter Makowsky said in an analysis on 38 North that activity around test barges "appears to have been for either maintenance or a possible refitting to prepare the barges for handling a new generation of submarine-launched ballistic missiles."

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