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Analysis: South Korea Sees Hope and Threat in Mixed Message From North’s Kim | World News

Analysis: South Korea Sees Hope and Threat in Mixed Message From North’s Kim | World News

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean officials have seized on conciliatory comments by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the weekend as a sign that tension could be easing but also worry the huge number of rockets he showcased is evidence that peace may be elusive.

Kim sent mixed signals as he addressed an unprecedented night-time military parade early on Saturday, wishing the neighbouring Koreas would “hold hands” again after the novel coronavirus pandemic is over.

While much of the world was captivated by the appearance of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), officials in South Korea were far more concerned by the display of new multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and fast, manoeuvrable short-range missiles that would be ideal for striking targets in the South.

“The parade revealed not only an advanced ICBM but also MLRS that pose a direct threat to South Korea,” said South Korean opposition leader Kim Chong-in.

“They’ve not changed, their threats have grown even bigger.”

South Korean ruling party leader and former prime minister Lee Nak-yon said he took hope from Kim’s overture to the South as a “positive sign” but worried about what the display of new weapons said about North Korea’s intentions.

“North Korea showed advanced weapons including a new ICBM, which indicated it has not abandoned its resolve to develop weapons of mass destruction, and those weapons can threaten peace on the Korean peninsula,” Lee told a party meeting.

November’s U.S. election is compounding the uncertainty especially as the tone of ties between the two Koreas is often set by the state of North Korea’s relations with its old enemy the United States.

When a landmark summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 brought an unprecedented easing of tension between those two countries, North Korea’s dealings with South

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Iran, North Korea had an abysmal 2020 – analysis

Iran, North Korea had an abysmal 2020 – analysis

Parades, missiles and confetti look good for photos, but even with two months left on the clock, it is clear that both Iran and North Korea had a truly abysmal 2020.Pyongyang and Tehran have both lost ground in their respective standoffs with the US, and Israeli security is marginally better for the time being because of this.  A decision by Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s supreme leader, to display his potentially largest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) ever in a parade this past weekend does nothing to change that.There are two key takeaways from the parade for North Korea-US issues and one for Iran-US-Israel issues. They all ultimately highlight North Korea’s and Iran’s relative weakness at the moment.One is that presuming Pyongyang already had the ability to strike the US with a nuclear ICBM since 2017, it may now be able to fire certain ICBMs with multiple warhead delivery vehicles.That means that if the US hoped to use its THAAD and other anti-missile capabilities to shoot down such an attack from the North, it might now be harder to do so against multiple nuclear warhead attacks at the same time.But in a sense, even this is not new, since Kim has had an estimated arsenal of dozens of nuclear weapons since 2017.That means the first takeaway is that North Korea has at most a smaller tactical victory. If there would be an all-out war, then rather than North Korea responding to a US strike with one missile and one nuclear weapon, the rogue regime could attack back with a missile loaded with multiple nuclear weapons. Maybe before the weekend, Kim would have had a harder time firing off multiple nuclear weapons in the face of possible US air or drone strikes.A second takeaway
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North Korea celebrates party anniversary amid economic woes

North Korea celebrates party anniversary amid economic woes

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday celebrated the 75th anniversary of its ruling party with outside observers expecting leader Kim Jong Un to take center stage in a massive military parade in capital Pyongyang, where the North could possibly unveil the latest weapons in its growing nuclear force threatening U.S. allies and the American mainland.

It wasn’t immediately clear as of Saturday morning whether any events were proceeding.

A programming schedule announced by North Korean television didn’t include plans to broadcast a military parade and mass rally, which South Korean government officials and private analysts have said were being prepared at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.

While North Korean TV had provided live coverage of a 2017 military parade honoring the birth of Kim’s late grandfather and state founder Kim Il Sung, the next two military parades in 2018 were recorded and broadcast later.

This year’s anniversary comes amid deadlocked nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration and deepening economic woes, which analysts say are shaping up as one of the biggest tests of Kim’s leadership since he took power in 2011.

South Korean officials and analysts have said North Korea could showcase a new intercontinental ballistic missile or other nuclear-capable weapons during a parade, which would highlight how the country has continued to expand its military capabilities amid stalled nuclear talks.

But while he may put on a huge display of his military hardware, analysts say Kim will likely avoid direct or harsh criticism toward Washington during his speech at the event and instead focus on a domestic message of unity in face of economic hardship.

Many analysts believe North Korea will avoid serious negotiations or provocations before the U.S. presidential election in November as a change in U.S. government could force the country to recalibrate its

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