Kim Jong-un faked missile launch of latest ICBM, US and South Korea say – National

North Korea likely faked the launch of its largest ICBM, the Hwasong-17, according to US and South Korean intelligence agencies. The test took place on March 24 and was accompanied by a Hollywood-style propaganda video featuring Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself.

The Hwasong-17 is a long-range ICBM, potentially capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It’s also powerful enough to put the entire continental US (and Canada) within its reach.

The missile launched last week was likely a Hwasong-15 — an ICBM that Pyongyang tested back in 2017, according to South Korean and US intelligence agencies.

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So why the false claims? North Korea may be trying to compensate for a failed missile launch on March 16, when an ICBM that analysts say was the real Hwasong-17 exploded in mid-air early in the launch.

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Parts of the exploded rocket fell back on Pyongyang, damaging infrastructure. South Korean intelligence told a local outlet that a crater was seen next to Kim Jong-il Political and Military University and that the building’s roof had been blown off.

South Korean intelligence also received information that two people may have been killed as a result of the falling debris, but is still investigating whether this report is accurate.

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Analyst Yang Moo-jin spoke to AFP about why North Korea felt compelled to lie about its missile launch.

“The March 16 launch failed spectacularly, and worse, it happened in Pyongyang, allowing people to witness the dramatic failure,” Yang said.

“Kim probably thought he needed something very strong to make amends, and that’s probably why he lied.”

Yang also said the North Korean state likely wants to “bolster pre-Day of the Sun citizens’ loyalty by branding Kim Jong-un as a capable leader of a military powerhouse.”

The Day of the Sun marks the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founding leader, on April 15.

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The rocket launch on March 24 was accompanied by a dramatic, top gun-style action video showing Kim personally directing the launch of the ICBM.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, front, claps during test firing of an alleged Hwasong-17 ballistic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 24, 2022.


Rachel Minyoung Lee, a non-resident contributor to 38 North, a program that analyzes North Korean events, told AFP this propaganda video was a “major departure” from previous North Korean propaganda efforts. She called it “a revolution in the history of North Korean propaganda”.

Lee said state propaganda has evolved to keep up with overseas media since Kim became leader, but this video marked a new high.

“It had to up its game and make propaganda content more real, interesting and compelling,” she said, even though the video’s content was actually fake.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Kim Jong-un faked missile launch of latest ICBM, US and South Korea say – National

Joel McCord

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