SEOUL (Reuters) - A vehicle that may be carrying a ballistic missile has been spotted at a parade training ground in North Korea amid signs it is preparing a big military display for an Oct. 10 holiday, a U.S. think-tank said.
Commercial satellite imagery taken on Tuesday showed a “probable missile-related vehicle” at the Mirim Parade Training Ground outside the capital, Pyongyang, according to a report by the group 38 North, which monitors North Korea.
“While imagery resolution is insufficient to determine exactly what the vehicle is, relative size and shape suggests that it may be a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) for a large missile,” the group said.
The vehicle appeared to be large enough to carry one of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which are believed to be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to targets as far as anywhere in the United States.
The authors acknowledged there was a chance the vehicle could be something else but said that seemed “unlikely in this particular location and circumstance”.
Satellite imagery had also shown large formations of troops and vehicles practicing at the parade training ground, 38 North reported.
“The recent training strongly suggests a large military parade is planned for the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea on October 10,” the think-tank said.
North Korea has not shown its largest ballistic missiles at military parades since early 2018, when leader Kim Jong Un began a flurry of diplomatic engagement that included three meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump.
But talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear programme have since stalled and earlier this year Kim vowed to unveil a new, unspecified “strategic weapon”.
Analysts have said the North Korea could use the holiday to showcase new weapons, either at a parade or in a test.
U.S. officials said this week that nuclear-armed North Korea had resumed long-range missile cooperation with Iran but did not provide detailed evidence.
Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel
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